Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinUnder pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support The Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Senate confirms Trump's pick for Israel ambassador MORE (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday said his state would gladly host the military’s controversial Operation Jade Helm 15 training mission.
“We’ll welcome you with open arms,” he said. “We’re not afraid of you.”
“We embrace you, we want you to be part of us,” Manchin added of soldiers involved in the exercises.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) ordered the commander of the Texas Military Forces last week to monitor the mission over citizen concerns about its purpose and goals.
Manchin dismissed such conspiracy theories during his interview Wednesday.
“I don’t know what’s going on in Texas,” Manchin said.
“I don’t know the paranoia that goes on in Texas, but the people in West Virginia welcome, welcome the special forces exercises,” he added.
Manchin joked he would call former Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) for “the scoop” on Jade Helm. Perry raised eyebrows on Tuesday for questioning skepticism over the missions.
“It’s OK to question the government,” Perry, a likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said. “I do it on a regular basis.”
“But the military is something else,” Perry said.
“Our military is quite trustworthy,” he continued. “The civilian leadership, you can always question that, but not the men and women in uniform.”
Information about Jade Helm 15 was made public several months ago.
Despite this, some conspiracy theorists claim the training campaign will declare martial law in the Southwest or confiscate weapons from law-abiding citizens.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, urged Americans on Tuesday to exercise critical thinking toward the mission’s stated purpose.
“These are incredibly capable, patriotic Americans and the notion that they’re going to be some sort of private army for the president to take away all our guns is just silly,” he told the Dallas Morning News.