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Manchin says birthright citizenship 'worthy of looking at'

Manchin says birthright citizenship 'worthy of looking at'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMurkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden On The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief MORE (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that the concept of granting birthright citizenship is "worthy of looking at," but was adamant that President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE cannot change it via executive order as he has suggested.

"I think it’s worthy of looking at it. I think the president needs to say what he intends to do," Manchin said during a West Virginia Senate debate.

"I think there’s a lot can be done, and a lot can be controlled, but he cannot do it by an executive order," the senator added, arguing the president can't unilaterally change the Constitution.

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Manchin's opponent, Republican Patrick Morrisey, said Trump is "right to look at the birthright lottery," but added he would want to see the president's executive order to ensure it's being handled the right way.

Manchin, who is up for reelection in a state Trump won easily in 2016, joined Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEverybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big MORE (Ind.), another vulnerable Democrat, in appearing open to the idea of ending birthright citizenship.

In an interview with Axios published Tuesday, Trump vowed to end citizenship for children of nonlegal residents born in the U.S., a change he proposed during the 2016 campaign.

He did not indicate when he would sign such an order, but the concept is one of many he has floated in the closing days of the campaign regarding immigration.

A number of lawmakers, including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBoehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director MORE (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (R-Ariz.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFBI director faces lawmaker frustration over Capitol breach Padilla has 'big Chuck Taylors to fill' in replacing Harris Judiciary Committee greenlights Garland's AG nomination MORE (R-Iowa) promptly refuted Trump's assertion that he can end birthright citizenship via executive order since it is enshrined under the 14th Amendment.

"Well, you obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order," Ryan told WVLK radio in Lexington, Ky.

Trump responded to the criticism on Wednesday, saying birthright citizenship would be ended "one way or another" and attacking Ryan.