- Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday again dodged a question about his loyalty to the Democratic Party.
- He was pressed by Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo to say if he still considers himself a Democrat.
- In response, Manchin said he identifies “as an American.”
Sen. Joe Manchin dodged a question on Sunday about whether he still thinks of himself as a member of the Democratic Party.
Manchin was interviewed on the talk show “Sunday Morning Futures,” where Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo repeatedly pressed him to say whether he still considers himself a Democrat.
“I identify as an American,” Manchin told Bartiromo. “I’m an American through and through.”
During the same interview, Manchin called for unity between the two political parties.
“My main concern is how do we bring this country together?” Manchin said. “How do we make it work? How do we make Democrats and Republicans become Americans again, and not just party affiliates?”
“This is what’s happening right now. We’re pushing people further apart, making people take a side, and then we’re rewarding for bad behavior,” Manchin added. “The country has to be about America and coming together.”
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 26, 2023
Manchin — who hails from West Virginia, a solidly red state — is known to be a moderate Democrat with conservative leanings. He was for two years one of the most powerful voices in the Senate: Because of the Democratic Party’s slim majority, Manchin had the power to make or break bills.
For instance, Manchin wielded his influence when he torpedoed President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation in December 2021, vowing not to back the spending bill. But he also did his fair share of making legislation happen for the Democratic Party when he pushed for the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022.
After Sen. Raphael Warnock won the Georgia runoff election in December, Senate Democrats now have more breathing room. They hold a 51-seat majority in the Senate, making it possible to pass legislation even if Manchin remains a holdout.
Manchin has continually been coy about his party loyalties
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that “it would be a great idea” if Manchin were to switch parties.
“It would not surprise you to know that I’ve suggested for years it would be a great idea, representing a deep red state like West Virginia, for him to come over to our side,” McConnell said in December 2021.
Manchin has not made any formal moves to officially switch parties, but he has also not ruled it out in his public statements on the matter.
In December, Manchin dodged a question about whether he intends to switch over to the GOP. Manchin told CBS he doesn’t see “much validity in the identity of being a Republican or Democrat.” He added that he would tell people “later” what he decides to do with his party affiliation.
In January, Manchin remained noncommittal about whether he intends to run for president — and when pressed, did not say if he would run as a Democrat.
“I haven’t made a decision about what I’m going to do in 2024. I’ve got two years ahead of me now to do the best I can for the state and for my country,” Manchin told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “Everything’s on the table.”
Representatives for Manchin did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.