West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin dodged a question from CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday regarding whether he’d throw his support behind Joe Biden should the president go through with plans to run for reelection in 2024.
The senator was asked whether Mr Biden would have his endorsement by Mr Tapper in response to new polling showing the president’s approval rating lower than ever among his own party and with record-low support for a potential reelection bid.
Mr Manchin responded by decrying the Washington media’s constant focus on the next election cycle, while touting his partnership with the president and at the same time very carefully avoiding making any statements about 2024.
“Jake, I’m not getting involved in any election right now, 2022, 2024, I’m not speculating on it. President Biden is my president right now, I’m going to work with him and his administration to the best of my ability to help the people in my state of West Virginia and this country,” he said.
His non-response would not be notable were it not for the public call from one of his Democratic colleagues in the House just a few days ago for Mr Biden to step down and let another Democrat head the party’s presidential ticket in 2024.
Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota this week became the first member of Mr Biden’s party on Capitol Hill to publicly join the calls for “generational” change in the party, a shot at the geriatric leadership of the Democrats in the House, Senate, and White House.
“No,” said Mr Phillips when asked if he wanted Mr Biden to run in 2024. “I think the country would be well-served by a new generation of compelling, well-prepared, dynamic Democrats who step up.”
Mr Manchin is also known to be on the outs with the direction of much of his party in general and came out in opposition to Mr Biden’s Build Back Better agenda last year, killing the signature piece of legislation only to revive it (albeit in a much more scaled-down manner) this past week.
His party is now touting the smaller piece of legislation which avoids overhauling the US’s social safety net as Democrats had previously wished while still providing billions for the fight against climate change in the form of electric vehicle credits and provisions aimed at decarbonising the US energy industry. It also has measures bent on curbing the damaging inflation that has left many US families struggling in the face of higher food costs, energy costs, and housing prices.
The conservative Democrat touted that legislation on Sunday in a whirwind of appearances on CNN, ABC, Fox News and NBC, calling the bill necessary to fight the trend of rising costs of living for American families.
“This is fighting inflation,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “This is all about the absolute horrible position that people are in now because of the inflation costs. Whether it be gasoline, whether it be food pricing, whether it be energy pricing.”