Wasting no time after announcing his retirement from the US Senate, Joe Manchin is going after President Joe Biden as he embarks on a quest to mobilize the “radical middle” and potentially run for president.
“Joe Biden has been pulled so far to the left, the extreme left,” Manchin told conservative billionaire and radio host John Catsimatidis Sunday. “Makes no sense at all, it’s not the person we thought was gonna bring the country together.”
The West Virginia Democrat added that he thinks former president and current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump “normalized this visceral hatred. He wants to … weaponize [the presidency] for revenge. He believes the only fair election is the one he won [in 2016].” Manchin previously stated that a second Trump presidency would “destroy democracy in America.”
“Washington wants you and I to be divided, and the rest of America to be divided because it’s a better business model for ’em,” Manchin added Sunday. “I’ve decided to go around to see if I can mobilize the radical middle – the radical, moderate, sensible, reasonable, middle, modern part of this country,” he said.”
In a video announcing his retirement from Congress, Manchin said he’d be “traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together,” spurring speculation that he’d jump into the 2024 presidential race.
Manchin recently told NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker that he would “absolutely” consider running for president. “I will do anything I can to help my country, and you’re saying, ‘Does that mean you would consider it?’ Absolutely. Every American should consider it if they’re in a position to help save the country,” he said. Manchin told Welker that he hadn’t spoken with the president since announcing his decision not to seek reelection.
For months, Manchin has been flirting with No Labels, a nonprofit political organization fueled by dark money and focused on fielding a “centrist” third-party ticket for president in 2024. In a statement, the group greeted Manchin’s retirement by calling him a “tireless voice for America’s commonsense majority and a longtime ally of the No Labels movement.” The group said they would “make a decision by early 2024 about whether we will nominate a Unity presidential ticket and who will be on it.”
Speaking on Fox News last week, No Labels leader and former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said, “Joe Manchin deserves the most serious consideration if we get to that point.” Lieberman has strenuously denied that a No Labels ticket would help Trump, claiming that the group’s internal polling shows that a “unity” ticket wouldn’t play spoiler.
Manchin, too, has denied that an independent run for president would help Trump win. “I don’t buy that scenario,” Manchin told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell after announcing his decision not to seek reelection. “I’ve never been a spoiler in anything…I compete to win, okay? And I’m gonna work right now to try to win the middle back.”