During the interview, Manchin recalled how in 2018 Trump attempted to use his bully pulpit to scuttle Manchin's re-election bid in West Virginia, a move that ultimately failed. Manchin said he forgave Trump a week later. Now, he's optimistic the president will return the favor.
"It's not different when he wanted to have lunch the week after I was elected. And he said: 'I knew we couldn't beat you.' And I said: 'It wasn't for lack of trying.' Boom, it's over, let it go. I did. I'm asking him to do the same thing I did," Manchin told Politico. "He tried to remove me."
It may take longer than a week for the president to come around, however. In the days following the impeachment vote, Trump has been lashing out at Manchin, calling him a "puppet" senator and "Joe Munchkin."
...But, just like the people of West Virginia will no longer look at weak & pathetic Joe Manchin the same (I got th… https://t.co/aR5JpmHIOD— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1581211148.0
They are really mad at Senator Joe Munchkin in West Virginia. He couldn’t understand the Transcripts. Romney could, but didn’t want to!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1581264297.0
Manchin had remained undecided on impeachment until the very last minute before Trump's ultimate acquittal in the Senate last week. Many thought that Manchin, being a moderate from a deep-red state, would opt to acquit the president to save face with voters. He had even floated censure as a way to handle the matter in a bipartisan way in the lead-up to the vote.
But when it came time to vote, Manchin determined in no uncertain terms that Trump was, in fact, guilty of abusing his power and obstructing Congress and thus deserved to be ousted from office.
Now, Manchin is singing a much different tune, telling Politico he thinks Trump can still be a "tremendous president."