Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says Trump ‘called him all the time’ and he was ready ‘to stay and fight’ during the Capitol riot
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said former President Donald Trump ‘called me all the time’ and said he was ready ‘to stay and fight’ during the Capitol riot.
In a new interview with USA Today, the West Virginian who’s become the Senate’s pivotal swing vote, talked about his chummy relationship with Trump, while still holding the ex-president accountable for the events of January 6.
‘I didn’t know there was that type of fever and pent-up hatred in people he allowed them to unleash,’ Manchin said.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said in an interview with USA Today that former President Donald Trump, a Republican, called him all the time. He also said he wanted ‘to stay and fight’ during the January 6 MAGA riot
Manchin suggested he had gotten accustomed to Trump’s rhetoric and didn’t realize what a danger is presented until the Capitol riot.
‘I heard the Trump rhetoric forever,’ he said.
‘I got along with Donald Trump. We had a good rapport. He called me all the time. We talked back and forth,’ he continued.
Manchin added that Trump ‘liked conflicts and he liked that turmoil.’
‘And that’s fine if you’re in business. But for public service, it doesn’t work,’ the Democrat continued. ‘The whole principle of public service is to bring people together to get a consensus. And Donald Trump’s not made that way.’
It all came to a head when thousands of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol Building on January 6.
Manchin, who’s 6-foot-3, told USA Today he wanted to take the rioters on.
‘My intention was to stay and fight: “Let ’em in. Let’s go at it.’ But I didn’t know what was going on,’ the 73-year-old senator said. ‘You had a lot of people chanting. I didn’t think anything of that. But within 10 or 15 minutes, a SWAT team comes in with all of their gear and says “You guys are out of here. Just go now. Don’t even stop.”‘
Senators and House members were gathered in their respective chambers as the counting of Electoral College votes had been halted as Republicans filed an objection to Arizona, and later Pennsylvania’s, vote counts.
Lawmakers were rushed to safety by Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers as the MAGA mob stormed the Capitol.
Manchin said he learned from that day, ‘Politically, more than anything else. How fragile we are. How close we came to losing our country.’
But he also said the MAGA riot made him want to keep the filibuster in place – meaning that for most bills in the Senate, a 60-vote threshold, and thus bipartisan compromise, would be needed.
‘It gave me more determination [to fight for the filibuster,] he told the newspaper. ‘If you want to lose it completely and you want to be a government that was not how we were formed to try and be a more perfect union – not perfect, but more perfect – this is not the way to do it.’
Both parties have eroded the filibuster in recent years – first scrapping it for some judicial nominations and then applying it to the Supreme Court as well.
However, it remains available to hold up most legislation in the Senate, with some Democrats pushing to get rid of it so they can pass bills with their 51 vote majority.