Joe Manchin Says He Wouldn’t Support Bernie Sanders Against Donald Trump

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks on stage during the Protecting Working Families Rally
Lisa Lake / Getty Images

Although Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders previously said he was confident that Democratic Senator Joe Manchin would support his agenda, Manchin recently threw cold water on the possibility during an interview with Fox News, The Hill reports.

According to Manchin, he would “absolutely not” support Sanders’s progressive agenda in the Senate, adding that it’s “not practical” where he comes from, referring to West Virginia, where Donald Trump won in 2016 by 40 percentage points.

When Manchin was pressed on whether he would vote for Sanders if he were the nominee against Trump, the West Virginia Senator said he would not, although Manchin was evasive when Fox News’ Neil Cavuto asked whether he would support Trump instead.

“Let’s just say I’m going to make decisions based on what’s best for my country and my state.”

Although Manchin admitted that the Vermont senator’s policies are thought-provoking and stir passion, he attacked Sanders’ Medicare for All plan as too expensive, suggesting that the United States “can’t even pay for Medicare for some.”

Manchin was also on the fence about voting for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, and although he supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, he later said he regretted his decision due to Clinton’s criticism of the coal industry.

When Sanders previously claimed Manchin would support his agenda, he suggested that Manchin would not have a choice because he would rally working-class people to raise their voice in opposition, The Outline reports.

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“Your average politician sits around and he or she thinks, ‘Let’s see. If I do this, I’m going to have the big money interests putting 30-second ads against me. So I’d better not do it.’ But now they’re going to have to think, ‘If I don’t support an agenda that works for working people, I’m going to have President Sanders coming to my state and rallying working-class people.'”

Per The Outline, writer Paul Blest suggests that Sanders’ strategy is the right way to go. He points to Trump, who initially had almost no endorsements in Congress to having support from nearly the entire GOP, many of whom refuse to speak out about his purported corruption or criticize him. Only the now-Independent Justin Amash spoke out in favor of Trump’s impeachment, which eventually led to Amash leaving the GOP following intense backlash from the party.

Sanders is currently third in the polls with 16.8 percent support. Although his support took a dip after his heart attack, it appears to have at least partially recovered, and his passionate base of fans are hoping he will take the nomination and defeat Trump.