- A report from Mother Jones claimed that Sen. Joe Manchin was planning to leave the Democratic Party.
- Within an hour, Manchin told reporters on Capitol Hill that the report was “bullshit.”
- “I have no control of the rumors, guys,” Manchin also said, denying the story.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia swiftly dismissed rumors that he’s planning to leave the Democratic Party, telling reporters on Capitol Hill that a Mother Jones story published earlier that hour was “bullshit.”
The story said that Manchin had told “associates” in recent days that he was mulling leaving the party if President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats didn’t agree to spending cuts in the once-$US3.5 ($AU5) trillion “Build Back Better” social spending bill.
Journalist David Corn wrote that Manchin would then declare himself an “American Independent” and had “devised a detailed exit strategy for his departure” from 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,” Corn wrote. “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.”
“It is unclear whether in this scenario Manchin would end up caucusing with the Democrats,” he added.
-David Corn (@DavidCornDC) October 20, 2021
Less than an hour later, reporters had located Manchin at the Senate, who firmly denied the rumors.
“I have no control of the rumors, guys,” Manchin said before telling Alan He of CBS News, “This is bullshit.”
It’s not the first time the conservative, West Virginia Democrat has had to deny such rumors. “I’ve never considered it from that standpoint because I know I can change more from where I’m at,” Manchin told Vox in April in response to a question about potentially switching parties.
Sen. Manchin’s office did not respond a request for comment.