Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) revealed Monday the White House's coercive tactics meant to force him into compliance and supporting the Build Back Better Act ultimately backfired.
What did Manchin say?
During an interview with West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval, Manchin explained that President Joe Biden was not the problem. Rather, the coercive pressure that his staff put on Manchin to support Build Back Better drove him further and further away.
"I just got to the wits' end," Manchin said. "The bottom line, basically, it's his staff — this is staff-driven. ... It's not the president, it's his staff."
Manchin explained the White House staff "drove some things and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable. They know what it is, and that’s it." Manchin did not explain what those "things" were.
Still, the moderate Democrat made clear he will not be pushed around.
"They figured surely to God we can move one person," Manchin said. "We can badger and beat one person up. Surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough they’ll just say, ‘Okay, I’ll vote for anything. Just quit.'"
"I’m from West Virginia," the senator continued. "I’m not from where they’re from, and they just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive — period."
One of the "things" that angered Manchin, according to Politico, was a statement the White House released about Build Back Better negotiations last Thursday that mentioned Manchin by name three times. Manchin was reportedly informed of the statement beforehand, and he objected to his name being included in the statement, citing concerns of ongoing harassment of his family.
Politico explained, "But the statement went out anyway, and contained only Manchin’s name. The senator then snapped at White House aides and told them that he was done negotiating. The West Wing interpreted that as meaning that current talks were done but could pick up again next year."
Listen to Manchin's interview below. It begins at the 1:35 minute mark:
While angry Democrats blame Manchin for sinking the president's agenda, one House Democrat told The Hill Monday that Democrats should look in the mirror.
The House Democrat, whom The Hill did not identify by name, said the White House, in fact, is to blame.
This is an indictment of the senior leadership in the White House. The worst part is nobody will be held accountable for this. They don't understand the American people want results; they don't want drama and rhetoric. Everyone has been left high and dry. I can see everyone [vulnerable Democrats] fleeing for the hills at this point.
It started with Afghanistan. Nobody was held accountable for the chaos that the Afghanistan withdrawal constituted. It allowed everyone to get a pass. It sent the message that the president will stick by you so do whatever you want. I do think [Biden] needs to clean house if we have any chance of salvaging 2022. There have to be consequences.
Despite Manchin saying over the weekend that he would not negotiate with Biden further, Politico reported that Biden and Manchin spoke late Sunday and ended with the understanding that negotiations would, in fact, happen sometime next year.