White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki couldn’t even contain her amusement when a Fox News reporter accused the White House of “bullying” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) after he said he would not vote for the Build Back Better Act.
President Joe Biden and Congressional Democratic leadership wanted to pass the Build Back Better Act before the end of the year, and Manchin said this past weekend that he would not vote for it. His vote is necessary in light of Democrats’ razor-thin majority in the Senate.
On Sunday, Psaki stated that Manchin had committed to working on the bill “in good faith” and implied that he was reneging on that promise.
On Monday, Manchin shot back, saying that the White House’s strategy for passing Build Back Better Act was to “badger and beat one person up.”
“Well, guess what?” he told West Virginia MetroNews. “I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from, [where] they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive.”
On Tuesday, the White House was saying, “The President looks forward to continuing to work together with Senator Manchin and his colleagues in the Senate and House to address shared priorities based on common values.”
Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich accused the White House of “bullying” Manchin into voting for the Build Back Better Act at the White House press briefing earlier today.
“Is there going to be a softer, I guess, approach in dealing with Senator Manchin and some of the other, you know, Democrats in the party who have been very vocal about being disappointed in him?” she asked Psaki. “Is there a sort of a shift in strategy since this all blew up over bullying?”
“Well, again, I wouldn’t characterize it that way, Jacqui,” Psaki responded. “Senator Manchin is somebody that has won many tough fights in West Virginia. He comes proudly from a coal-mining family. He’s a pretty outspoken advocate for the things he believes in and the things he doesn’t.”
“I would doubt he’s a withering flower on the side of the road.”