Ever since President Joe Biden took office, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has been a frustrating obstacle to the Democratic Party, which has led to repeated rumors that he might jump ship by switching parties. As negotiations for Biden’s Build Back Better package have ramped up in recent days, a new report from Mother Jones claims Manchin has informed associates that he has a detailed plan for leaving the Democratic Party if he doesn’t like how things are headed.
However, shortly after the Mother Jones report was published, Manchin issued a swift and succinct denial, according to CNN’s Daniella Micaela: “It’s bullshit.”
Sen. Joe Manchin immediately shut down a story in Mother Jones that says he’s talking to “associates” about switching parties.
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) October 20, 2021
According to Mother Jones DC Bureau Chief David Corn, Manchin was reportedly telling associates that if the Build Back Better negotiations didn’t go his way, he had a process in place to force Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s hand by threatening to leave the party:
He told associates that he has a two-step plan for exiting the party. First, he would send a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, removing himself from the Democratic leadership of the Senate. (He is vice chair of the Senate Democrats’ policy and communications committee.) Manchin hopes that would send a signal. He would then wait and see if that move had any impact on the negotiations. After about a week, he said, he would change his voter registration from Democrat to independent.
Whether those conversations actually took place is unknown, but if Manchin’s response is to believed, they did not, and any talk of him leaving the party is apparently BS. Isn’t politics neat?