White House was in talks with Manchin to lead Veterans Affairs: report

White House was in talks with Manchin to lead Veterans Affairs: report
© Greg Nash

The White House was in serious talks with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful' McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments MORE earlier this year about becoming Veterans Affair secretary after numerous revelations about presidential physician Ronny Jackson sunk his nomination, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Senior White House officials wanted Manchin to join President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE’s Cabinet as a way of getting him to abandon his Senate seat in deep-red West Virginia.

The centrist Democrat, who is up for reelection in November's midterms was not formally offered the VA post, the Post reported.

Trump announced last month that he would be nominating acting VA chief Robert Wilkie to fill the position permanently following Jackson's withdrawal.

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Manchin told the Post that he viewed his discussions with the White House as being about helping them find the right person for the job, not about getting the job himself.

However, White House officials said that they specifically asked Manchin about running the VA and thought he was interested.

The discussions, which began after Jackson bowed out in April, lasted for several days, but Manchin backed out after a poll showed he has a decent shot at reelection, White House officials told the Post.

Manchin is currently facing West Virginia’s Republican attorney general Patrick Morrisey in his Senate race.

Trump won West Virginia by 42 points in 2016. Although Manchin sometimes backs Trump policies, the president has publicly criticized him for opposing the Republican tax law and Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare.