Manchin says birthright citizenship 'worthy of looking at'

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

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Murkowski, Manchin introduce major energy legislation The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate 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 TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary 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 Donnelly70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Ginsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 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 RyanGaetz tells CPAC he won't take PAC money Paul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Trump doubles down on Neil Cavuto attacks: 'Will he get the same treatment as' Shep Smith? MORE (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeAppeals court refuses to throw out Joe Arpaio's guilty verdict after Trump pardon 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents McSally ties Democratic rival Kelly to Sanders in new ad MORE (R-Ariz.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus | Pence taps career official to coordinate response | Dems insist on guardrails for funding Top Trump advisers discuss GOP need to act on health care at retreat with senators McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign 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.