United States Senator Joe Manchin — a Democrat from West Virginia — slammed former party leaders in a contentious conference call exchange he had with constituents seeking a town hall meeting with the elected official.
The heated exchange was broadcast live on Facebook by a user present at the meeting. After waiting for nearly an hour, Sen. Joe Manchin joined the conversation to discuss holding a multi-issue town hall meeting in March.
The comments about Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders came after a conference call participant posed a question attempting to seek a firm commitment from Joe Manchin about a date for the town hall. From the video, comments the constituent made seemed to irritate Joe Manchin and led to the U.S. Senator extolling thoughts on other issues like President Barack Obama and coal mining regulations.
“I believe that basically what Barack Obama did to our state was criminal. He and I have have gone toe to toe. He didn’t give a d*** about the global climate… He didn’t do anything and just destroyed our economy.”
While the regulations were not unlawful — as Joe Manchin figuratively said in his comments — the voluminous directives have been erased from the books. The West Virginia Democrat was only of a one of a few Democrats to break party ranks and vote to remove nearly 400 regulations that were enacted during the former president’s time in office, according to Reuters.
Seconds later in the conversation, the U.S. Senator referenced those regulations in his discussion with his constituent. “They put 400 new regulations on top” of existing laws protecting watersheds, Joe Manchin explain. According to the U.S. Senator, “[the regulations] just smothered us. It was ridiculous.”
After another exchange, Joe Manchin took aim at his critic by questioning which Democratic nominee for president he had supported in the West Virginia primary. “Are you a Bernie Sanders guy,” Senator Joe Manchin asked.
After the individual confirmed he stood with the citizens across the state that had voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary election, Joe Manchin unleashed another barb during the vexed conversation. “Bernie Sanders is not even a Democrat,” Joe Manchin said, a jab that seemed to call into question the constituent’s loyalty to the Democratic party.
Politico confirmed the caller was indeed Senator Joe Manchin with the legislator’s office. Despite the contentious conversation, the communication director for Joe Manchin said the U.S. Senator was not shying away from what he said. The communication director also confirmed that Joe Manchin would “have you quote him” on his view fellow U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders was not a Democrat.
Many individuals see Joe Manchin as vulnerable in the 2018 election, according to the Politico article. Joe Manchin — the state’s former governor — remains the only Democrat from West Virginia elected to the U.S. Congress. Plus, the politician resides in a state that voted heavily in favor of Donald Trump, prompting the senior Senator from West Virginia to seek areas where he and Republicans can work together.
Joe Manchin has worked to shore up his support on both sides of the political aisle by working with Donald Trump early on during his presidency. Earlier in February, the U.S. Senator joined nearly a dozen Republicans as President Donald Trump signed a piece of legislation to repeal “harmful” coal mining regulations. Previously, Joe Manchin praised President Donald Trump to the Daily Caller that as someone committed to getting the job done while saying Barack Obama had crushed West Virginia’s spirit with the multiple regulations.
During the conference call, Joe Manchin repeated said that he was going to do a town hall meeting with citizens from West Virginia to discuss issues with the United States Senator. Yet even in agreeing to attend a town hall format, the U.S. Senator pressed the individuals on the conference call for what they hoped would be gained from the meeting.
“What are we going to accomplish? What do you want to accomplish? What will we get out of it so we can move forward upon? This is the problem in Washington: everyone wants to fight continuously without a pathway forward.”
The perceived hesitation for Senator Joe Manchin is that numerous town hall meetings — like the one the group in the Facebook video pressed for — are turning into more of a denunciation for liberal-leaning individuals who are angry at their congressional representation. PBS recently detailed the volatile scenes Republicans have experienced at recent town hall meetings conducted within the past month.
Joe Manchin also brought up the recent episodes as he agreed to conduct a town hall meeting. The West Virginia elected official told the participants on the conference call that he would allow people to scream at him, but the conversations would do little to sway his opinion of how to conduct business in Washington.
“We’re going to have a disagreement there. And if you people who would be happy to scream, I’m happy to hear that if that’s what they want to do. It’s sure as h***not going to change me for how they devastated our state.”
— WV Citizen Action (@WVCAG) February 23, 2017
Prior to questioning if an individual on the call was a Bernie Sanders supporter, Joe Manchin encouraged his fellow Democrats who disagreed with him to find an alternative candidate to support. Doubling down on his stance to not let the town hall meetings sway his opinion, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin stunningly told his constituents to vote him out of office if they disagree with his stance on issues.
“What you ought to do is vote me out. Vote me out! I’m not changing. Find someone else that can be beat me and vote me out! That’s what you ought to do. It’s an invitation. You ought to. I can tell that because we are on different pages.”
Do you believe West Virginia’s U.S. Senator Joe Manchin was too critical of his constituents or his party’s former leaders such as Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders during the recorded phone call? Follow the Inquisitr on Twitter (@TheInquisitr) to join in on the conversation.
[Featured Image by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]