Manchin says birthright citizenship 'worthy of looking at'

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

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Trump vows to 'always uphold the Second Amendment' amid ongoing talks on gun laws MORE (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that the concept of granting birthright citizenship is "worthy of looking at," but was adamant that President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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 DonnellyLobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries 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 RyanEmbattled Juul seeks allies in Washington Ex-Parkland students criticize Kellyanne Conway Latina leaders: 'It's a women's world more than anything' MORE (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeArpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon Overnight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument Carbon tax shows new signs of life in Congress MORE (R-Ariz.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation Trump health official: Controversial drug pricing move is 'top priority' Environmental advocates should take another look at biofuels 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.