Manchin Says He Wouldn’t Support Sanders Against Trump in 2020 Race

October 31, 2019 Updated: October 31, 2019

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he won’t vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) if the socialist candidate becomes the Democratic presidential nominee.

During an appearance on Fox News late Oct. 30, Manchin was asked if he supports Sanders’s proposed government takeover of the healthcare industry, or Medicare for All.

“Absolutely not,” Manchin said, before saying Sanders had brought up ideas that provoked discussions.

“I think Bernie brings a lot to the table. But it’s not practical where I come from,” Manchin said. “Bernie keeps saying ‘Medicare for All.’ Bernie, we can’t even pay for ‘Medicare-for-some.’ I said, right now, the trust fund is going to go broke by 2026. … Now you want to expand it, and what happens?”

Host Neil Cavuto asked Manchin who he’d vote for if the matchup was ultimately Sanders versus President Donald Trump.

“Well, it wouldn’t be Bernie,” Manchin said.

Does that mean he’d vote for Trump?

“Let’s just say I’m going to make decisions based on what’s best for my country and my state,” the senator responded.

Manchin’s comments came after Sanders, 78, claimed Manchin and another moderate Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) would support his agenda if he were the Democratic nominee.

“Even if you get elected, even if it’s successful to the point that Democrats win a small majority in the Senate, is Joe Manchin going to vote for your program? Is Jon Tester going to vote for your program?” reporter John Harwood asked Sanders.

“Yeah. Damn right they will. You know why? We’re going to go to West Virginia,” Sanders said. “Your average politician sits around and he or she thinks: ‘Let’s see. If I do this, I’m going to have the big money interests putting 30-second ads against me. So I’d better not do it.’ But now they’re going to have to think, ‘If I don’t support an agenda that works for working people, I’m going to have President Sanders coming to my state and rallying working class people.'”

Manchin, 72, has consistently broken from party lines during Trump’s presidency, including some efforts to get funding for the southern border wall, supporting Trump’s opposition to late-term abortions, and voting to approve Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Manchin narrowly won another term in office during the 2018 midterms defeating the Republican challenger, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, with around 29,000 more votes.

Trump won West Virginia in the 2016 election, with over 68 percent of the votes.

Tester, 63, the other senator Sanders claimed would support him, also won reelection in 2018. Tester won by about 18,000 votes over Republican challenger Matt Rosendale.

Trump also won Montana in 2016, with a little over 56 percent of the vote compared with Hillary Clinton’s 35.7 percent.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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