White House Went Negative On Manchin, Manchin Hit Back

Serves them right.

Politics is a very personal game. Egos and feelings matter. By engaging in arrogance and hammerhanded tactics the White House lost Manchin on BBB. Amateurs.

FNC: “A media confidant of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., wrote recently that White House incivility toward Manchin contributed strongly to why he torpedoed President Biden’s Build Back Better bill.

Manchin criticized White House staffers in an interview on MetroNews Talkline for retaliating against him after he said he wouldn’t support the bill, and he also blamed the White House ‘staff’ for recent news reports about him, saying they were being ‘driven’ by the president’s staffers and that he understands it is not Biden’s doing.

Steve Clemons, The Hill’s editor-at-large and a longtime Washington journalist and friend of Manchin, wrote that both sides had agreed to refrain from finger-pointing as they negotiated on Biden’s $1.75-trillion social policy and climate package, but a White House statement last week that singled out Manchin by name and also discussed ‘fierce Republican opposition’ was a strategic mistake.”

“I know Manchin. He believes in civility above all things,” Clemons wrote. “When I saw Manchin’s name in the presidential statement, I knew he would perceive it as a breach of process, a breach of spirit, a breach of Joe and Joe working this out so that politicians from Scranton and Charleston could find a way to align with those from Brooklyn and San Francisco.”

“Given the protests that Manchin’s family has experienced at his home, which is a boat in Washington Harbor — with folks harassing him, his wife and grandson by kayak around his boat and the gate to the marina — I knew this presidential statement was personalizing the game,” Clemons wrote. “It put his family at risk, in my view. Everyone knows Manchin and [Arizona Senator Kyrsten] Sinema are the two Democrats the White House must negotiate with because it has given up on Republicans — but to specify Manchin in a presidential statement meant the terms of the dealmaking had changed.

“How could the White House not know that getting uncivil with Manchin — who believes in civility even with his biggest antagonists, who had a three-hour dinner with progressive leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and then spoke publicly about how valuable it was to know her better than he did previously — would be so destructive?” Clemons wrote.

This piece was written by David Kamioner on December 22, 2021. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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