Joe Manchin voted for Trump’s controversial nominees, but is undecided about Biden’s

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the lawmaker who voted for more Trump nominees than any other Democrat, could sink at least one of Biden’s.

So far, Manchin has already voiced her opposition to Neera Tanden, a nominee for the post of director in the Office of Management and Budget, arguing that her previous social media posts targeting both Republicans and progressive Democrats were too polarizing. .

“I believe his openly partisan statements will have a toxic and damaging impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Manchin said in a statement, later adding that the decision did not it was “personal.”

Manchin’s opposition is important because Biden’s nominees could end up needing all the Democratic votes in the Senate, where the party has a minimum majority of 50 people, to be confirmed. Her decision likely means that Tanden won’t make it, especially since a growing list of moderate Republicans who could have saved her nomination have also said they won’t support her.

Manchin is also undecided on the nomination of Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) for Secretary of the Interior, and the nomination of former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Both have been top Republican targets, given his more progressive views on policies that include the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-All, respectively.

Pointing out that he could ultimately back Haaland, Manchin launched a statement Tuesday afternoon highlighting how he has committed to working with him on West Virginia’s priorities and preserving the nation’s broader energy independence.

At this point, it is still unclear how Manchin will ultimately vote for either candidate. However, his initial coverage has already caused a Democratic pushback and raised questions about why he has not been very supportive of various nominees who are also people of color. Tanden would be the first Native American person to become OMB director if confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American Secretary of the Interior, and Becerra would be the first Latina secretary for HHS. Manchin’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Regardless of the reasons behind his concerns, the perspective of the situation has earned him reprimands from some prominent progressives.

Former President Donald Trump’s First Attorney General “Jeff Sessions was so openly racist that not even Reagan could name him. Manchin voted to confirm it, ”Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet about the senator’s concerns about Haaland. “However, is the first native woman to be a cabinet secretary where Manchin finds unease?”

Manchin’s hesitancy to accept all of Biden’s nominees fits into a general pattern that the senator has followed for some time: A moderate Democrat representing a state that voted for Trump by nearly 40 points in the recent election, Manchin has been long established as someone willing to do so. opposing his party, often while mentioning the importance of bipartisanship, as he did when he spoke about Tanden’s nomination. “At a time of dire crisis, it is more important than ever to chart a new bipartisan course that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation,” Manchin said recently.

Now, however, progressives like Ocasio-Cortez are among those who ask why Manchin was willing to support a number of troublesome Trump nominees, many of whom focused on partisan priorities, while remaining opposed or insecure about what to do. Biden’s elections. It’s a dynamic that has led people to wonder if the senator’s litmus test is applied differently depending on the candidate.

Joe Manchin was the only Democrat who supported multiple Trump nominees

During the last administration, Manchin also stood out when it came to nominees: He was the only Democrat to endorse numerous Trump elections, a distinction that is touted on his Senate website.

“On nine occasions, Senator Manchin was the only Democrat who voted to confirm Trump’s nominees, including two cabinet secretaries, three circuit court judges, and several other nominees,” a statement read.

Officials he ultimately supported include former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who pushed for the zero tolerance policy that led to the separation of parents and children on the southern border; Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced a sexual assault charge during his confirmation process; and former US ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, who faced criticism for his own tweets criticizing women.

In this context, it has been somewhat jarring for many Democrats to see Manchin oppose or express indecision about Biden’s nominees who have received a pushback from the GOP for their social media posts, or have been criticized by Republicans for their opinions. progressives on health care and energy policy, respectively.

There’s an obvious political reason for Manchin to take such stances: the strong Trump lean from his home state, whose other senator is Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican who supports Trump. But it is unclear how much voters might factor into those votes when weighing his possible reelection in four years or in a theoretical gubernatorial bid down the road.

There are other possible reasons for this approach as well: While Manchin’s concerns with Tanden center largely on his partisan remarks, he told E&E News that he still has questions about Haaland’s agenda and his support for a fracking ban in public lands. And Manchin, a pro-life Democrat, may also have questions similar to what Republicans have raised about Becerra’s past support for abortion rights.

Multiple Nominees Facing GOP Opposition Are Now People of Color

As Politico’s Lauren Barron-Lopez and Christopher Cadelago reported, something that also causes consternation among Democrats, who have made promoting diversity a priority, is that the Biden nominees who have garnered the most pushback (or who face the uncertain about a successful confirmation) are all people of color, and mostly women. This has raised questions about whether Republicans and Manchin have double standards when it comes to how they evaluate Biden’s nominees.

“Is there a pattern here ???” Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), vice chair of the Congressional Asia Pacific American Caucus, recently posted in a tweet, responding to comments Manchin allegedly made about Haaland: in which he noted that he still had “questions” about his candidacy.

The question of whether nominees of color receive more scrutiny and are punished more for their actions than white men has been highlighted by several lawmakers and Democratic advocates.

As Vox’s Ella Nilsen has reported, the irony of lawmakers using Tanden’s tweets as a reason to oppose his nomination is notable, as Republicans either endorsed Trump for a long time or remained silent despite his presence. incendiary on the social media platform. Grenell’s pre-confirmation process also serves as another point of comparison for a nominee who got into trouble for controversial tweets, but still received strong party support in the process.

“When a white man can get away with vile behavior, but a woman of color can’t express deep frustration … let’s call it what it is” Rep Veronica Escobar (D-TX) wrote in a tweet about Tanden. “Sexism. And with some, it is also racism. “

The final verdict on the nominations of Tanden, Haaland and Becerra is not yet certain, as they respectively go through the confirmation process. But experts on racial justice and gender equality emphasize that women of color were central to the Democrats’ presidential and Senate victories and should occupy prominent roles in the administration.

“Women of color mobilized like never before in past elections and won seats in the White House, Senate and negative votes across the country,” groups such as She the People and Democracy for America write in a letter. “To be clear: we do not hand over elections only to be marginalized once again.”

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