Republicans Court Manchin To Join GOP Over Deepening Rift With White House

Republican senators are attempting to persuade Democratic moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) to swap parties and join the GOP amid his disagreements with President Joe Biden’s agenda.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) have made overt attempts recently to convince Manchin to become a Republican. If Manchin were to make the move, the GOP would take over as the majority party in the Senate.

McConnell has ramped up his efforts to persuade Manchin since the Democrat had a falling out with the White House over the weekend. Manchin said publicly last week that he was a hard no on Biden’s signature Build Back Better legislation as it is currently written. The White House responded with an open statement torching the West Virginia senator.

McConnell said the incident shows how far Manchin is from the heart of the Democratic Party.

“Why in the world would they want to call him a liar and try to hotbox him and embarrass him?” McConnell told The New York Times. “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.”

“Obviously we would love to have him on our team,” McConnell added. “I think he’d be more comfortable.”

Cornyn has also tried to push Manchin to split from the Democratic Party and join the GOP. Cornyn said he texted Manchin on Tuesday morning: “Joe, if they don’t want you we do.” Cornyn said that he did not receive a response.

“I don’t know what he will decide to do. But I do know West Virginia has gotten increasingly red,” Cornyn said. “And I think his vote on Build Back Better is reflective of what he’s hearing from his constituents in West Virginia. So yeah, we’d love to have him. That would change the majority.”

The White House blasted Manchin over his refusal to back Biden’s legislation in a statement on Sunday:

Senator Manchin’s comments this morning on FOX are at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances. Weeks ago, Senator Manchin committed to the President, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework that the President then subsequently announced. Senator Manchin pledged repeatedly to negotiate on finalizing that framework “in good faith.”

On Tuesday of this week, Senator Manchin came to the White House and submitted—to the President, in person, directly—a written outline for a Build Back Better bill that was the same size and scope as the President’s framework, and covered many of the same priorities. While that framework was missing key priorities, we believed it could lead to a compromise acceptable to all. Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground. If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.