Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) denied claims that he will be leaving the Democratic Party after an unsourced report from left-wing Mother Jones said he considering departing the party unless the White House agreed to reduce spending on the proposed $3.5 trillion social welfare bill.
“I have no control over the rumors,” he told reporters on Wednesday in response to questions about leaving the party. “We’re friends … it’s [expletive].”
Manchin, while speaking to The Hill while walking back to his office in the Senate building, also said, “I can’t control rumors and it’s [expletive], [expletive],” raising his voice.
According to the Mother Jones report, penned by longtime editor David Corn, Manchin allegedly told “associates” that he devised a detailed exit strategy for his departure” from the Democratic Party. He would then declare himself an “American Independent,” the publication reported, without offering any named sources for the claim.
It also alleged Manchin, who is up for reelection in 2024, would first send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) informing him of his plan to leave Schumer’s leadership team. Then, he would change his party registration from Democrat to independent.
In July, Manchin was also asked about whether he’d leave the party as he publicly balked at the price tag for various White House-backed initiatives.
“If switching a party or whether you have a ‘D’ by your name or an ‘R’ by your name changes who you are as a person, then you’re in the wrong profession and it’s all about you and not about the oath you take to the office, the oath to the Constitution, to protect and defend,” he told Fox News, adding he “never considered” switching.
Manchin is the head of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and it’s not clear if he would keep that leadership position if he left the Democratic Party.