WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says his Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill should not be surprised by his support of President Donald Trump on certain issues.
“They know who I am. They know me and they know, basically, that I’m a West Virginian through and through and I represent my state,” Manchin said during an appearance on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
On Tuesday night, he got camera time during President Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress.
“The tone was very good. I think even the Democrats who are most cynical or skeptical about that even said it was a good tone and it was a good speech,” he said.
In his view, Trump spoke with a “presidential tone.”
At times, Manchin was the lone Democrat standing to applaud.
While he noted he does not agree with Trump on every issue, including health care, Manchin said there are areas where the two can find common ground — in matters like renegotiations of trade deals, regulation lifting and support for coal miners.
In his speech, Trump said the following: “We’re going to stop the regulations that threaten the future and livelihood of our great coal miners.”
It brought Manchin to his feet.
“For someone just to recognize that these people have worked their butts off and given this country the energy for making us the greatest country on Earth, I was so appreciative of that,” Manchin said.
He said he later thanked the president for the acknowledgment after other Democrats left the U.S. House chamber.
Also Wednesday, Manchin issued a press release in which he said he was “furious” 22,800 retired UMWA members were receiving termination letters for healthcare coverage that take effect on May 1 — the close of a four-month extension window the previous Congress approved.
“Our retired miners’ healthcare and pension benefits are in jeopardy again as the Senate fails to act,” Manchin said. He’s continued to push for passage of a version of the Miners Protection Act to shore up those benefits.
Manchin is up for re-election in 2018 at what will be the midpoint for the Trump Presidency.
Trump’s 2016 win in West Virginia was a dominating one.
“This is my president,” Manchin said of Trump. “Whether you voted for this man or not to be your president, he was elected to be your president and we’re going to make the best out of it.”