Key Democrat Senator Scorns Biden, Mulls Jumping Into 2024 POTUS Race

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a prominent invitee to President Joe Biden’s celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act’s first anniversary at the White House next week, is likely to be absent.

The growing rift between the conservative Democrat and the Biden administration is highlighted by Sen. Manchin’s decision to skip the White House event showcasing the climate and health spending legislation, which he helped develop and name.

Manchin is considering running as a third-party candidate for president in 2024, which might hurt Biden’s prospects of winning re-election. Manchin wants to project more independence from the White House even without making this risky move, particularly as he considers running for another Senate seat in his heavily Republican state. He suggested on Thursday that he might leave the Democratic Party and join the Independent Party.

“I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time,” he shared with a West Virginia radio broadcaster.

During a recent meal, Manchin and Steve Ricchetti, one of Biden’s top staffers, discussed how Manchin’s choices would put the president in jeopardy. According to individuals acquainted with their dynamics, this dinner, which came after the Senate’s August recess, focused on coordinating expectations for the upcoming Senate session.

The main point of contact between Manchin and the West Wing is still Ricchetti. The purpose of these discussions is to inform the president of any prospective policy differences with Manchin. It is still unknown if Manchin’s future third-party run or party change were brought up.

A senior White House official played down Manchin’s expected absence from the upcoming event, pointing out that it will take place during a break in Congress. But when contrasted to a comparable recess event last year, where Manchin was a center point, the contrast is clear. Biden gave him the official signing pen in appreciation for his crucial contribution to the passage of the law.

“We will keep finding ways to work together,” the senior official commented on the relationship with Manchin, noting the senator “helped us find a way to thread the needle and get things done.”

Manchin, though, expressed dissatisfaction with how the administration was interpreting the Inflation Reduction Act. He expressed his appreciation for the bill while pledging to “continue to fight the Biden administration’s unrelenting efforts to manipulate the law to push their radical climate agenda at the expense of both our energy and fiscal security.”

In Arizona, Biden launched a two-week publicity campaign for the Act that featured Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Prior to Biden, Sinema, who switched from being a Democrat to an Independent in December, spoke. However, “scheduling conflicts” have been given as the explanation for both senators’ absence from the White House event.

In order to strategically take control of the Senate, Republicans are especially interested in winning Manchin’s seat in the upcoming elections.

In West Virginia, a state that heavily supported Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, Manchin is still the only Democratic statewide elected person.

Formerly praising Manchin, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell now supports Manchin’s possible opponent, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

Manchin criticized Biden for the Inflation Reduction Act’s skewed depiction as “green and clean,” highlighting the necessity for energy security, in response to his contentious choice to support it.

In 2022, Ricchetti and Manchin were instrumental in guiding the legislation’s development. Manchin was responsible for reviving the Build Back Better program by negotiating a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that resulted in a modified version he could support. He proclaimed the name Inflation Reduction Act with pride.

Even a White House official claimed that the bill had his signature: “We are implementing the Inflation Reduction Act as written, which aligns with many of Senator Manchin’s goals.”

Manchin’s connections with Ricchetti are becoming more and more crucial as he attempts to set himself apart from Biden, especially in light of the likely 2024 presidential campaign. Public disputes have resulted from this distance. Manchin has vocally disagreed with a number of the Biden administration’s choices regarding the Inflation Reduction Act, particularly those involving environmental policies.

“It wasn’t smart to do what I did if I’m doing strictly about politics,” Manchin admitted Thursday.

In a recent radio interview, Manchin defended the act’s reputation by highlighting its ability to manage inflation. Later that day, Biden offered an alternative viewpoint.

“I wish I hadn’t called it that,” he said at a fundraiser in Utah, “Because it has less to do with reducing inflation than it has to do with providing alternatives that generate economic growth.”

Given that the incumbent president is unpopular both outside and inside his own party, Senator Manchin may prove to be a formidable challenger to Joe Biden in the Democratic primary. The Special Counsel Robert Hur is looking into a classified documents scandal that involves the president. There is also growing evidence that the president was involved in a family business that sought to profit from his political influence by accepting sizable payments from foreign actors.

However, it is unclear whether Joe Manchin, a West Virginia retail politician with no notable history in national campaigns, might be a spoiler in the Democratic primary. Manchin is reportedly thinking about running as a “independent” rather than a Democrat, which would make him more vulnerable to a genuine third-party challenge and bring to mind Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign.


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