WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin defended his vote in support of the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during an appearance on statewide radio Wednesday.
“I read every word I could (of the FBI Report),” Manchin said. “I couldn’t even find where those two people (Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford) were in the same place at the same time from anybody who was spoken to.”
The Senator added he did not doubt the story presented by Dr. Blasey Ford, but he believed there was a different assailant.
“I truly believe something very traumatic happened to Dr. Blasey-Ford,” Manchin said.”I just couldn’t say it was Judge Kavanaugh because nothing showed that.”
Manchin took heat in the halls of the Senate from activists and demonstrators, as did several Senators who were considered key swing votes on the confirmation. After the vote, the criticism sharpened. Manchin was especially bothered by those who expected a decision from him immediately after the announcement of Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“I’d heard his name, but I didn’t know him,” Manchin said. “So how could I say in the first 10 minutes, or the first hour, or even the first week, ‘That’s my guy.’ or ‘I’m against that guy.'”
Manchin spoke about the vote for the first time on Wednesday’s edition of Metronews Talkline. He also answered questions about the timing of his vote. Many raised questions about Manchin casting his vote in favor of Kavanaugh, the only Democrat to back the confirmation, but only after the confirmation was assured Some pundits and critics of the senior Senator from West Virginia believed his vote was deliberately held until the last minute and cast only when it was clear his would not be the deciding vote on Kavanaugh, but would give him political cover with voters back at home.
“The bottom line is nobody is going to tell me how to vote,” Manchin said incredulously. “Not Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell or any of these people, I don’t do that. That’s just not who I am.”
He also took the opportunity to draw distinctions between the political climate in Washington and in West Virginia.
“I’m a West Virginia Democrat and I’ve never been a Washington Democrat. I have friends who are West Virginia Republicans and don’t subscribe to the Washington Republican,” Manchin explained. “What’s happening in this tribal mentality in Washington is absolutely ludicrous. I guess we’ve become so hyper-political that everything we do is based around politics.”