UPDATE 3 p.m. Monday
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement Monday on conversations with President-elect Donald Trump.
“Last week, President-elect Trump and I had a wide-ranging and constructive conversation about the future of our country and how we can work together to help the state of West Virginia. I was humbled and honored to share my views with the President-elect and assured him that I am willing to work in a bipartisan manner to find commonsense solutions to the serious challenges we face. I have always believed that public officials must put their state and country first and set aside partisan politics to do what’s right for the people they serve. It is why I truly look forward to continuing the conversation with President-elect Trump later this week on how we can work together to make that happen.”
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s name has now been floated for two different roles in the Trump administration: first, Energy Secretary and now Secretary of State.
The most recent name-dropping for the former West Virginia governor came in The New York Times, where Manchin was mentioned as a possible U.S. Secretary of State.
NYT reports @Sen_JoeManchin also being considered for Secretary of State
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 5, 2016
The early names for that post were all Republicans: former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus. But multiple news outlets are saying the Trump transition team is broadening its search.
The Times reported, “Those new candidates appeared to include John R. Bolton, an ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush; Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former Utah governor and ambassador to China under President Obama; Rex W. Tillerson, the president and chief executive of Exxon Mobil; and Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia.”
ABC News echoed the report and analyzed the possibility:
“Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, Manchin has been mentioned by Trump as worth a look for secretary of state, a senior Trump transition source tells ABC News. But it’s not clear he is a serious contender for that position. ABC News has previously reported Manchin as more likely under consideration for energy secretary.”
Earlier last week, Manchin’s name was floated as a possible Energy Secretary choice. At that time, Manchin told Politico he did not have a trip scheduled to New York to talk with Trump or the transition team. The conservative Democrat “is being considered to show the coal people how serious Trump is about coal,” Politico wrote.
“If I can do anything that would help my state of West Virginia, and my country, I would be happy to talk to anybody,” he told Politico. “Other than that, I haven’t heard anything … I have nothing scheduled.”
— POLITICO (@politico) December 2, 2016
The Wall Street Journal also reported on Manchin’s consideration for both positions: “Mr. Manchin has experience in both realms, serving on the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Armed Services Committee.”
Manchin is known in the Senate as a moderate and takes pride in working across the aisle. But he campaigned with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last spring. As MetroNews reported then, “Manchin says Hillary Clinton still best answer for southern coalfields.”
Last month, Manchin publicly defended the newly-elected Trump from criticism by outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. He called Reid’s reaction to Donald Trump’s election “an absolute embarrassment to the Senate as an institution, our Democratic party, and the nation.”
Manchin’s fellow Senator, Shelley Moore Capito, was asked about the possibility of his being nominated for a Trump administration position while she appeared with fellow Republicans in a display of GOP unity at the state Capitol today.
“It’s interesting to see the different rumors and what folks are talking about,” Capito responded. “I think a bipartisan cabinet is always a good thing for any president.
“Having a representative from your own state in the cabinet, quite frankly, I think would be good for our state. I don’t know what Senator Manchin’s plans are, or what President-elect Trump’s plan is for DOE. We’ve got to have someone who understands coal, energy and a full-out, all-of-the-above energy plan.”
Other Republican elected officials with West Virginia were with Capito, but they all declined to address the Manchin name-dropping.
Capito and the rest responded with some laughter about that: “Nobody wants to say anything,” she observed.