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Joe Manchin fires back at AOC for 'totally false' allegation of 'corruption': 'Divide, divide, divide'

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images (left), Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images (right)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) fired back at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Sunday for "totally false" claims she made about him two weeks ago, saying the New York Democrat is interested in division, not unity.

What did AOC say?

Responding to an essay that Manchin wrote for the Wall Street Journal explaining why he opposes President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending bill, Ocasio-Cortez accused Manchin of taking his legislative cues from lobbyists.

"Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called 'bipartisan' fossil fuel bills. It's killing people. Our people. At least 12 last night," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Sept. 2. "Sick of this 'bipartisan' corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation."

"Fossil fuel corps & dark money is destroying our democracy, country, & planet," she added. "All day our community has been pulling bodies out of homes from the flood. Entire families. And we're supposed to entertain lobbyist talking points about why we should abandon people & do nothing? No."

Ocasio-Cortez, however, did not offer any evidence to substantiate her allegation.

How did Manchin respond?

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Manchin described Ocasio-Cortez's allegations as "totally false."

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not," Manchin said when asked if he "huddles" with Exxon executives. "I keep my door open for everybody. That's totally false."

Manchin, the Senate's most moderate Democrat, added that Ocasio-Cortez's rhetoric is "awful" and said she only seeks to sow division.

"Those types of superlatives, it's just awful. Continue to divide, divide, divide," Manchin said. "I don't know that young lady that well. I really don't. I have met her one time, I think, between sets here. But that's it. So we have not had any conversations. She's just speculating and saying things because she wants to."

When host Dana Bash told Manchin that "there are a number of your fellow Democrats who say that you're opposed to this because you're bought and paid for by corporate donors," Manchin made it clear those critics are wrong.

"I'm opposed to it because it makes no sense at all," Manchin said.

"You're just not entitled to create your own facts to support it. And that's exactly what they're doing."

How did AOC respond?

Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to the substance of what Manchin said, but instead seized on his comment referring to her as a "young lady."

"In Washington, I usually know my questions of power are getting somewhere when the powerful stop referring to me as 'Congresswoman' and start referring to me as 'young lady' instead," Ocasio-Cortez said.

"Imagine if every time someone referred to someone as 'young lady' they were ask responded to by being addressed with their age and gender? They'd be pretty upset if one responded with 'the old man,' right?" she continued. "Why this kind of weird, patronizing behavior is so accepted is beyond me!"

Anything else?

Democratic lawmakers are increasingly voicing their frustration with Manchin over his refusal to support the massive spending bill, which seeks to advance many of Biden's big-government agenda items.

Because Democrats want to pass the bill using the budget reconciliation process — in order to pass it without Republican support — they need Manchin's support. However, if Manchin continues to hold the line, Democrats will fail in passing the bill, as the Senate is split 50-50.

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