Manchin will vote to convict Trump

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinProgressives fume over Senate setbacks Politics, not racism or sexism, explain opposition to Biden Cabinet nominees House Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike MORE, a centrist Democrat whose home state of West Virginia gave President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE his biggest margin of victory in 2016, said he would vote Wednesday with other Senate Democrats to convict the president on two articles of impeachment.

"The charges brought against President Trump are serious and carry grave consequences for our nation," he said.

"The evidence presented by the House Managers, including video testimony of witnesses under oath in the House of Representatives, clearly supports the charges brought against the President in the articles of impeachment," he added.


Manchin’s decision is a setback for Trump, who was hoping to be able to point to a bipartisan acquittal in the Senate trial.

"We expect a bipartisan vote in the United States Senate," Vice President Pence had said earlier Wednesday in an interview with Fox News. "The only bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives was against the articles of impeachment. And we expect a bipartisan vote in the United States Senate today."

Instead, it’s Senate Democrats who can claim a bipartisan vote to remove the president from office after Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Memo: CPAC fires starting gun on 2024 Trump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike MORE (R-Utah) shocked his colleagues Wednesday afternoon by announcing he would vote to convict Trump of abuse of power.

Another key centrist, Sen. Doug Jones (D) of Alabama, which gave Trump a 28-point margin of victory in 2016, announced earlier Wednesday he would vote to convict Trump on both articles.

Manchin narrowly won reelection to a third term by a 3.3 percentage point margin in 2018 but last year flirted with a possible run for governor, a job he held from 2005 to 2010.


Manchin had signaled Monday that he might vote against impeaching Trump when he floated the alternative idea of a bipartisan resolution to censure the president.

He predicted on the Senate floor that a censure would “formally denounce the president’s actions and hold him accountable.”

“His behavior cannot go unchecked by the Senate, and censure would allow a bipartisan statement condemning his unacceptable behavior in the strongest terms,” he said.

But the idea fell flat on Tuesday after centrists such as Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins urges Biden to revisit order on US-Canada border limits Media circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden Why the 'Never-Trumpers' flopped MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars MORE (R-Alaska) dismissed the idea. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe bizarre back story of the filibuster The Bible's wisdom about addressing our political tribalism Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (R-Ky.) also made clear the idea was a non-starter.

Manchin appeared anguished over his decision as he wrestled with the pros and cons of voting to remove Trump from office.


“I am truly struggling with this decision and will come to a conclusion reluctantly, as voting whether or not to remove a sitting president is the most consequential decision that I, or any U.S. senator, will ever face,” he said Monday.

Manchin was viewed as the Democrat most likely to support Trump’s acquittal after he was the only Democrat to support the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMedia circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election MORE in October 2018 after a bitter partisan fight.

Some Republican strategists thought the vote ensured his reelection a month later.

A recent poll commissioned by Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group, showed that nearly half of West Virginia voters would view Manchin more negatively if he voted to remove Trump for office.

Patrick Hickey, a professor of political science at West Virginia University, said that voters “in general in West Virginia” think that Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors Biden celebrates vaccine approval but warns 'current improvement could reverse' MORE and the Democratic impeachment effort were “all basically a political game.”

He said Manchin’s constituents wanted him to acquit Trump and speculated there was little reason for Manchin to take a risk since Democrats had no chance of getting the 67 votes needed to actually remove Trump from office.

“Why are you going to go against a majority of what your constituents want if it makes no practical difference?” he said.

Hickey said Manchin helped himself politically by voting for Kavanaugh in 2018.

“If you look back at 2018, that race was a lot closer than people expected. It was only a 3 or 4 percentage point margin that Manchin won by, and I would bet that the Kavanaugh vote is that margin of victory,” he added. 

Brett Samuels contributed.