Meet Joe Manchin: The Democrat Helping Trump Build His Cabinet of Swamp Creatures
Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs banker known as the “foreclosure king”, was confirmed by the US Senate in a 53-47 vote.
All but one senate Democrat opposed Mnuchin’s confirmation; and that man’s name is Joe Manchin, senator from West Virginia.
Manchin has gone out his way to break with his party’s strategy to block Donald Trump’s cabinet nominations by making it a point of voting for those picks. He voted for Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary, John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security, James Mattis for Secretary of Defense, and Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.
The senator also voted for Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General, in a 52-47 vote with Democrats favoring not to confirm the former US senator. However, with Manchin’s help, Sessions was ultimately confirmed and sworn in.
When asked why he voted “yes” on Sessions, Manchin told MSNBC : “It’s more what we know about a person than what people say about a person. … I have not seen the things he’s been accused of or people talked about.”
Manchin said that he had known Sessions personally for 6 years and in all that time he “didn’t see” and indications that the senator “was bigoted or… was racist”.
Of the concerns raised over Sessions history of racist remarks and career record of participating in voter suppression through prosecution of civil rights activists who were assisting elderly African Americans in Alabama register to vote with charges of voter impersonation fraud.
Manchin dismissed Sessions’ past as “partisan politics”, telling Fox&Friends : “Jeff Sessions has my vote, he’s my friend. I’ve built relationships and friendships here. I don’t care whether they’re Democrats, Republicans, independents. We were sent here, basically sent here to work to make America better, and Jeff Sessions, I’ve known him for six years. We’ve been friends, we talk about an array of things. I have never detected — never one ounce of detection — that Jeff Sessions is what they have said.”
Prior to the vote for Sessions, Manchin told the media the Democrats strategy of blocking the confirmation was “bullshit”, adding: “My God, I think we should have an attorney general in place on Jan. 20. I sure do believe that.”
The day after Manchin voted for Sessions, he was seen sitting next to Donald Trump at a bi-partisan meeting to discuss Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
In December of last year, Manchin told CNN that he “can best serve” West Virginia by remaining in the US Senate while suggesting that he had been offered a position in the Trump administration during the transition.