During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Manchin, a centrist Democrat who has frequently bucked his party on key legislative issues, said it is important that he receives input from Republicans in his state “to get a good outcome for our West Virginia citizens.”
“I’m not a Washington Democrat, I’m a good old West Virginia Democrat, who likes all my West Virginia Republicans, and I know that I have to have their input for us to get good outcomes for our West Virginia citizens we represent,” Manchin told co-anchor Jake Tapper during a conversation about bipartisanship in Congress.
The centrist Democrat said his constituents are his “employers,” stressing that lawmakers should never forget where they came from and who sent them to serve in Washington.
“We have a lot of friends who are stereotype Washington Republicans. OK, there were Alaska Republicans and there’s all different Republicans who represent states. Never forget where you came from. Never forget who you work for. Never forget your purpose of being here,” Manchin said.
“And I’ve always said this, I want to make sure I take care of my country. I’m an American before I’m anything, I’m an American first. And I’m so proud of my country and the opportunities I’ve had. I also am here to do a job for the people of West Virginia. So they’re my employers,” he added.
Manchin has frustrated many in his party in recent weeks for stopping a number of legislative priorities from passing and landing on President Joe Biden’s desk.
In December, he said he could not support the Democrats’ social spending and climate package after months of negotiations, and in January he reiterated his support for the legislative filibuster — which ended the party’s chances of nixing the 60-vote threshold to pass voting rights reform.
As a result, some Democrats have floated the idea of primary challengers taking on Manchin if he seeks reelection in 2024.