Sen. Joe Manchin says he’s approached ‘every day’ about becoming a Republican: ‘I don’t know where in the hell I belong’

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia speaks during a bill signing ceremony at the White House with former President Donald Trump on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia speaks during a bill signing ceremony at the White House with former President Donald Trump on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
  • Sen. Joe Manchin said he’s approached “every day” about becoming a Republican.
  • He said joining the GOP might be “easier” but “I don’t know where in the hell I belong.”
  • Last week, Manchin dismissed reports that he’s planning to leave the Democratic Party.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on Tuesday that he’s approached “every day” about switching to the Republican Party.

Manchin made the comments at the Economic Club of Washington, DC, where he was interviewed by billionaire David Rubenstein, the chairman of the Carlyle Group. Rubenstein asked the senator if he thinks it would be easier for him if he “shifted to being a Republican.”

“Oh, it would be much easier, my goodness,” Manchin said, adding, “Is that the purpose of being involved in public service?”

“What I’m telling you now is who I am,” he went on to say. “Do you think by having a ‘D’ or an ‘I’ or an ‘R’ is going to change who I am?”

“I don’t think the Rs would be any happier with me than Ds are right now,” Manchin continued, to laughter from the audience. “I mean, that’s about as blunt as I can put it. So I don’t know where in the hell I belong.”

It’s unclear who exactly has approached Manchin about switching parties, and his Senate office did not respond immediately to Insider’s request for comment.

Manchin’s comments follow the publication of a report last week that said he could soon leave the party and declare himself an “American Independent.” Manchin called the report “bullshit,” though he later told reporters that he once offered to leave the party if he became an “embarrassment” to his Democratic colleagues.

“The only thing that was ever said that we’ve ever talked about – if I’m an embarrassment to my Democratic colleagues, my caucus,” he told reporters. “And I said, me being a moderate centrist Democrat, if that causes you a problem let me know, and I’d switch to be independent. But I’d still be caucusing with Democrats.”

“No one accepted that,” he added at the time.

Manchin has faced these kinds of questions for some time.

“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 switching parties.