Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin secured re-election in West Virginia Tuesday, but immediately changed his tune on issues that Republicans and moderates might have supported him for.
Manchin’s closest competitor was Republican candidate Patrick Morrisey, who President Donald Trump fiercely supported.
Immediately after his win was announced on Tuesday, Manchin spoke harshly about Trump, taunting the president for his candidate not winning the seat.
The Democrat bragged that he won his Senate seat in a state that Trump won by 42 points.
“Let me say that I never expected that this race would be the national race it turned out to be,” Manchin said in his victory speech.
“I never expected President Trump to come to this state as much as he did, sending Vice President Pence, sending his family, time after time. And you stood tall.
“What you said, what West Virginia said, loud and clear tonight: ‘Mr. President, we want our senator, not your senator,'” Manchin added.
Those statements are in stack contrast to Manchin’s support of Kavanaugh, who was hotly debated in the Senate.
Mancin was the only Democrat to vote to confirm Kavanaugh, which was a strong political move for a senator looking for re-election in a Trump-friendly state.
“With his decision (to support Kavanaugh), he mitigated potential ammunition for Morrisey, delivered a closing argument to Trump supporters who might have been on the fence about his allegiance to the president, and gauged that he would be able to weather expected rancor from liberals without ultimately losing their votes or at least too many of them,” according to an analysis of Manchin’s win by Politico.
His Republican competitor, Morrisey, was also using an alliance with the president to try and rally votes.
According to Business Insider, Morrisey ran on the promise that he would be Trump’s greatest ally in the Senate, and labeled the last leg of his campaign tour the “Stand with Trump tour.”
“Everyone who follows the race knows I’m the conservative fire who’s going to advance the Trump jobs agenda, and Joe Manchin’s a dishonest Washington liberal who’s going to empower the ‘impeach, obstruct, and resist’ circus in DC,” Morrisey said last month.
Manchin, however, called Morrisey’s campaign promises “toxic rhetoric” and demanded that the president become a more unifying figure.
“When I raise my hand and swear to God to uphold the Constitution, that’s for everybody. That is for everybody. And we’ve got to stop this absolute toxic rhetoric that’s going on in this country — we have got to stop this toxic rhetoric,” Manchin said.
“We’ve got to bring people together. Mr. President, I want you to be a president of the United States, not the divided states.”
Manchin had also criticized Vice President Mike Pence earlier in his campaign, and said that Pence was doing the president’s bidding in West Virginia.
“I know Mike Pence, and he’s just, I guess, doing his job,” Manchin said. “He’s a junkyard dog right now, I guess. He has to go out and do it.”
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