Democrat Manchin: Pence attacks prove ‘they don't want bipartisanship’ in Trump admin

The war of words between Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump administration seeks to use global aid for nuclear projects Shelley Moore Capito wins Senate primary West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice wins GOP gubernatorial primary MORE (D-W.Va.) and Vice President Pence intensified Thursday, with Manchin saying Pence’s attacks against him prove the Trump administration isn’t actually interested in reaching across the aisle.

“My record speaks for itself. If they’re attacking people like me then they don’t want bipartisanship. They are not committed or sincere about making government work,” he said. 

Manchin, viewed as one of the Senate’s most moderate senators, noted that he’s voted with the Trump administration 54 percent of the time and “there isn’t another person in Congress who votes as bipartisan as I do.”

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“For Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE to come in yesterday [and] start firing shots is not leadership. I’d simply urge Mr. Pence to show better leadership qualities,” Manchin said on Thursday in a string of tweets. 

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Manchin’s latest statement comes after Pence told Politico, in an interview that ran on Thursday morning, that he would campaign against Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (D-Ind.).

“We’re going to spend a fair amount of time in the states that the president carried very strongly — Indiana being one of them, West Virginia here being another, places like Montana, elsewhere around the country we think represent a real opportunity for us,” he told the publication. 

Manchin, Donnelly and Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate confirms Trump’s watchdog for coronavirus funds Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (D-Mont.) are one of 10 Democrats up for reelection in states won by Trump in 2016. Trump won West Virginia by more than 40 percentage points, and Indiana and Montana by roughly 20 percentage points.  The two men also traded rhetorical volleys on Wednesday after Pence tweeted from his White House account that he urged Manchin to support the GOP tax plan “but #JoeVotedNo.”  “I think Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: US showing signs of retreat in battle against COVID-19 | Regeneron begins clinical trials of potential coronavirus antibody treatment | CMS warns nursing homes against seizing residents’ stimulus checks Schumer requests briefing with White House coronavirus task force as cases rise Schumer on Trump’s tweet about 75-year-old protester: He ‘should go back to hiding in the bunker’ MORE & Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November MORE are pretty happy w/ the way he votes. But WV needs to let him know that they EXPECT BETTER & they need to let Joe know that WEST VIRGINIA DESERVES BETTER,” he added in a subsequent tweet.  Manchin — who said on Wednesday night that Pence’s comments are part of “why Washington sucks”— added on Thursday that Pence and his team decided for the tax bill to be “strictly partisan” and tried to take health care away from roughly 200,000 West Virginians.  “Mike Pence talks a good game as far as bipartisanship but I met with their team 21 times to make tax cuts larger [and] permanent for the middle class, not big businesses and millionaires. They decided to be strictly partisan instead of helping the middle class West Virginians,” he said in a tweet.  The verbal scuffle comes as Manchin has worked to pitch himself as a bridge between his party and President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE since the former business mogul won the White House in 2016.  He’s touted his relationship with Trump and was reportedly considered for a Cabinet position.  Manchin noted on Thursday that the president called him last week and invited him to the White House “to talk about ways we can work together on immigration reform.”

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