Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a nice guy. He did his best not to flame Joe Biden, despite Joe Biden falsely claiming that they had an agreement on Build Back Better (BBB) on the numbers — saying that was Biden’s statement, not his. Manchin has never said they had an agreement. Indeed, he has consistently said he was not there and had issues with it.
But the Biden team isn’t very bright. They took that attempt of Manchin to be polite and give them a little cover for lying and decided to double down even further on the lie. Not only that, they are now attacking Manchin and claiming in a statement that despite what Manchin said, they will pass BBB.
This statement is some kind of delusion. Keep in mind that Manchin has been straight — right down the line — with his reservations on the bill. Saying what number he might accept, for example at one point he said he would go up to $1.5 trillion, doesn’t equal an agreement to the bill. That’s all that he’s ever said publicly; he’s never agreed to the bill. But here’s what the White House is saying, through a statement released by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) December 19, 2021
“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,” Psaki said, tweeting out a link to her official statement on Manchin. “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.’”
“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,” she continued. “Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word.”
Here’s a longer clip than the one I cited earlier where Manchin laid out all the problems with Build Back Better — particularly at this time with inflation. Watch Bret Baier’s eyes go up as he realizes he’s got very big news here.
“I’ve tried everything humanly possible… this is a no.”
— Lyndsey Fifield (@lyndseyfifield) December 19, 2021
What Biden is leaving out of his statement is that very real CBO score that disputes everything they are claiming.
Manchin’s staff called the White House and let them know what he was going to say on Fox before he said it. According to a Politico report, the White House then freaked out and tried to call him. “We tried to head him off,” a senior White House official told Playbook, but Manchin “refused to take a call from White House staff.”
I’m guessing again that, by then, Manchin was likely already prepping for the show and probably couldn’t take the call. Once again, this is questionable phrasing by the White House — “refused” isn’t the same as “couldn’t.” How do they know he “refused”? All they can say is he “didn’t.”
One senior Democratic aide texted Politico minutes after the White House statement came out with this assessment: “Whoever at the White House who thinks it’s a good idea to go scorched earth needs to be fired… He’s the president. He’s supposed to be the adult.” Except he isn’t.
Manchin is going to learn a lesson from this, if he didn’t understand it already: Biden is not to be trusted and doesn’t negotiate in good faith. And he will throw anyone under the bus if he thinks it helps his cause. Because in the face of a failure, Biden always blames anyone and anything else except himself. We saw how true that was, almost to a sociopathic degree, during the Afghanistan debacle.
But this tactic by Biden — while trying to avoid blame for the failure — is the equivalent of blowing up his bridges behind him with Manchin. Biden needs Manchin for any future efforts, and now he’s publicly called him a liar. Why should Manchin ever trust him again after this, especially when he, Manchin, was doing all he could to not flame Biden?
We noted how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had extended an invitation to Manchin to join the Republican Party. At this point, the way Biden and some of the Democrats have been trying to stomp all over him, why shouldn’t he? Biden with his lying moved him to a firm “no” on the BBB. Now, with more lying, he may just move Manchin further — all the way out of the Democratic Party.