Latest News

Manchin declining to endorse Biden, explained

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) declined to endorse President Joe Biden for reelection during a Monday evening interview on CNN.

“I’m not endorsing anybody right now. We’re gonna see what happens. We still got plenty of time,” the centrist West Virginian said. Here’s three reasons the apparent snub shouldn’t really be a shock to anyone.

1. This is quintessential Manchin. The centrist likes leaving himself lots of options and not being boxed in.

In 2020 — months after voting to convict former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial — Manchin refused to rule out endorsing him for reelection. That was, of course, before the insurrection of Jan. 6. Manchin now says “I love my country too much to vote for Donald Trump.”

But bucking conventional wisdom has been a long-time trend for the lawmaker. He endorsed GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) reelection bid in 2022. He cut an ad for a West Virginia Republican locked in a bitter primary battle (who ultimately lost).

2. There’s still the possible third-party path: Manchin only took his name out of contention for a possible third-party bid last week, but is still holding open the possibility that someone else takes the plunge. “You just might have still a third-party run from No Labels,” he said of the centrist group. “We’ll just see what opportunities and what type of options you have.”

3. His policy disagreements with the Biden administration are real — and deep. Manchin, who chairs the Energy Committee, has gone to battle over the Biden administration’s implementation of its signature tax, climate and health care law, which he played an outsized role in shaping. “They’re going to try to screw me,” Manchin said at one point in 2023 of the White House.

He’s often voted with Republicans to (ultimately unsuccessfully) ax Biden administration environmental regulations. He’s vowed to oppose all Biden administration EPA nominees over a sweeping plan aimed at curbing power plant emissions. And he declined to hold a confirmation hearing for a key energy regulator over disagreements over climate, effectively ending his tenure.

None of these are terribly surprising for the lawmaker stemming from ruby-red and fossil fuel-heavy West Virginia. But these are not trivial disagreements with the Biden administration.