Manchin voted to oust Trump. He could endorse his reelection – By Burgess Everett (Politico) / Feb 13 2020
The West Virginia Democrat is already looking to reconcile with the president.
Joe Manchin thinks President Donald Trump abused his power and voted to remove him from office. But he also thinks Trump can still be a “tremendous president” and is eager to reconcile.
The West Virginia Democratic senator surprised his Republican colleagues by denying Trump a bipartisan acquittal last week. But he can’t quit Trump entirely — and is even open to supporting Trump’s re-election campaign.
“I don’t rule anything out. I really don’t rule anything out,” Manchin said in an interview in his office amid a series of attacks from the president. “I’m always going to be for what’s best for my country. Everybody can change. Maybe the president will change, you know? Maybe that uniter will come out, versus the divider.”
While it may defy logic that Manchin could support a president he voted to kick out of office, Manchin sees things differently. Trump did everything he could to defeat Manchin in 2018 and Manchin forgave him a week later. It might take Trump longer to forget Manchin’s vote, but the third-term senator is hopeful as always.
“It’s not different when he wanted to have lunch the week after I was elected. And he said: ‘I knew we couldn’t beat you.’ And I said: ‘it wasn’t for lack of trying.’ Boom, it’s over, let it go. I did. I’m asking him to do the same thing I did,” Manchin said. “He tried to remove me.”
The episode is vintage Manchin — keep everyone guessing and find a way to stay in the mix of the 2020 election, despite the dearth of opportunities to cut deals with Republicans and deploy his back-slapping brand of bipartisanship. Making peace with Trump would also help if he runs in 2024 for yet another term representing West Virginia, one of the strongest Trump states in the country. Manchin isn’t ruling that out either and said his vote to remove Trump is “no signal at all about my political career.”
Manchin also plans to hold a series of town halls to explain his impeachment decision to West Virginians.