Senate

McConnell says he thinks Manchin ‘would be more comfortable’ in GOP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a new interview that Republicans would “love” to have Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) join their ranks, adding that he thinks Manchin would “be more comfortable” in the GOP. 

“Obviously we would love to have him on our team,” McConnell told The New York Times. “I think he’d be more comfortable.”

The remarks come after Manchin announced on Sunday he would oppose President Biden’s signature Build Back Better spending package.

“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there,” Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday.” “This is a ‘no’ on this legislation.”

Following the senator’s decision, the Biden administration issued a blistering statement accusing him of “a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues.”

“Why in the world would they want to call him a liar and try to hotbox him and embarrass him?” McConnell asked during the interview, referring to the response Manchin received from White House and Democrats.

“I think the message is, ‘We don’t want you around.’ Obviously that is up to Joe Manchin, but he is clearly not welcome on that side of the aisle,” he told the newspaper. 

The Kentucky Republican is just one seat away from being Senate majority leader. 

But Manchin, whom McConnell says he has attempted to welcome in his party for years, leans closer to the GOP on issues like guns and abortions but has more wide-reaching views on government’s part in social and economic issues than Republicans, the Times noted.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also said he contacted Manchin about switching sides of the aisle following his decision on the spending plan. 

“Joe if they don’t want you we do,” Cornyn said in a text to Manchin, according to a local Texas news station.

“I don’t know what he will decide to do. But I do know West Virginia has gotten increasingly red. … So, yeah, we’d love to have him. That would change the majority,” Cornyn added.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Cornyn Mitch McConnell

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