McConnell Responds to Speculation That Sen. Manchin Could Flip Parties

June 10, 2021 Updated: June 10, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) responded to speculation about whether Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) would switch parties, saying he has no expectation of that happening.

It comes as Manchin faces backlash from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as well as left-wing media outlets over his recent decision to vote against some Democrat-backed bills. Manchin, meanwhile, has said he is unwilling to abolish the filibuster, a key rule used by the minority party in the Senate that requires 60 votes to overcome.

“Well, Sen. Manchin has pointed out over and over again he’s been a Democrat all of his life. I am certainly not anticipating that he’s going to cross the aisle,” McConnell told Fox News on Wednesday after he was asked about the possibility Manchin could flip. “But I do admire his willingness to protect the Senate as an institution,” he added.

In comments to reporters on Tuesday, Manchin said he would not support the “For the People Act” after meeting with Al Sharpton, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and other civil rights leaders.

“No, I don’t think anybody changed positions on that,” he said, according to The Hill. Previously, the senator said the bill is too broad and cited its lack of bipartisan support.

Writing for the Charleston Gazette in an opinion article, Manchin termed the bill as “partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”

There have been efforts to get Manchin to join the GOP in recent years.

In 2019, Manchin, whose state overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, told CSPAN that McConnell reached out to him to become a Republican “many times” but said it wouldn’t happen due to his opposing positions on health care and tax policy.

For his opposition to abolishing the filibuster, Manchin received praise from Trump, who told Fox News on Monday that the senator is “doing the right thing.”

And if he decides to flip, it would deliver a significant blow to Democrats. The Senate is currently tied at 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaker.

But, according to Manchin in a Vox interview this year, he has “never considered it from that standpoint because I know I can change more from where I’m at.”

“And I still believe in the principles of the Democratic Party that I grew up with,” he added, citing his grandmother, who he said would open her home to homeless people and the hungry. However, Manchin said that she had rules: “You couldn’t cuss, you couldn’t drink, and you had to work.”

“You want to continue to send checks and give everything away continuously, that’s not who I am,” he told Vox. “Not the way I was raised.”

The Epoch Times has contacted Manchin’s office for comment.