On Tuesday, a visibly annoyed Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., emphatically told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he’s “not gonna” talk about whether he plans on supporting President Biden if he runs for re-election.
During the latest episode of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Manchin spoke to the anchor about the Inflation Reduction Act that he and the Democratic Party just passed to secure government funding on energy and the economy. He specifically focused on the bipartisan nature of what he referred to as a “red, white and blue American bill.”
With bipartisanship as the focus, Manchin adamantly refused to answer Mitchell’s follow-up questions about whether he’d support Biden’s re-election campaign in 2024. Perturbed by the question, Manchin exclaimed several times, “I’m not gonna talk about it!,” before Mitchell let go of the question.
Prior to the tense exchange, the MSNBC host brought up a conversation that Manchin had on Sunday with “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd. Manchin was asked by Todd whether he hoped Democrats would retain their congressional majorities in the midterm elections.
At the time, Manchin refused to answer, instead claiming, “You know, I’m not making those choices or decisions on that.”
Mitchell addressed Manchin, saying, “Let me ask you to expand on something you were discussing with Chuck Todd on ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday where you said — you did not say whether you would back Democrats in the midterms. You said you would decide based on individual candidates, I think.” She then asked, “Would you support Joe Biden if he’s on the ticket in 2024 as the Democratic president seeking re-election?”
Just as in his interview with Todd, Manchin dodged the question, preferring to tout the bill that he helped enact. “Let me make it very, very clear. This is the most, one of the most important pieces of legislation in my lifetime that we’ve ever done, to have energy security, to fight inflation, to help our geopolitical allies around the world,” he replied, before Mitchell cut him off.
“And you’ve worked with a Democratic White House on it,” she interjected.
Manchin acknowledged that but asserted he would not be answering her question because he does not want to “bring politics into it.” “But for me to bring the politics into it, ‘oh, this is a Democrat bill, this is a Republican bill, this is not.’ I’m not talking about the 2022 election and 2024. I have no control over those elections,” he maintained. The senator added, “And I’m not going to talk about them that will skew one of the greatest pieces of legislation.”
Manchin pivoted to praising Biden’s support of the bill, telling Mitchell, “I’m very appreciative that the president has seen it, he’s approved it, he supports it. God bless him for that. It’s great for America. Can’t we do something for our country without having to bring politics into it? That’s all.”
As Mitchell pushed one last time, trying to posit, “Well, you’re a Democratic senator,” Manchin animatedly cut her off. “I’m not gonna talk about it!” he exclaimed three times.
Sheepishly, Mitchell replied, “I’m just asking whether you’d support your own — the leader of your own party.”
Seemingly exasperated, the Democratic senator continued, “I’m supporting this bill, Andrea. It’s the American bill. It’s the red, white and blue American bill. It’s the bill that we need to fight inflation, to have more energy to do the job we were sent here to do. Every time you talk about politics, it gets people fired up. I’m not going to go down that path.”
“I’m not fired up, Senator,” Mitchell responded, before expressing her gratitude that Manchin was able to help Democrats get the Inflation Reduction Act passed.