Mitch McConnell is done with subtleties. The Senate Republican leader is putting his party’s courtship of Joe Manchin on full public display after the West Virginia Democrat’s fractious split with the White House over the president’s big social and environmental spending package.
McConnell says Manchin “feels like a man alone” and if he were to switch parties, “he would be joining a lot of folks who have similar views on a whole range of issues.”
Whether Manchin is open to McConnell’s appeal — he has consistently said he still sees himself as a Democrat — is uncertain. But it is clear that if he were to switch it would fundamentally alter the balance of power in Washington as well as seriously threaten Joe Biden’s legislative prospects for the rest of his presidency.
McConnell dangled the prospect of Manchin retaining his prized Energy Committee chairmanship during an interview Wednesday and played up the West Virginian’s growing distance from Democrats in his opposition to Biden’s package.