Report: White House Wants Joe Manchin To Vote For Trump’s Acquittal
President Donald Trump is hoping to snag at least one Democratic senator to vote against his impeachment in order to claim the acquittal was bipartisan, according to The Washington Post.
The president was particularly pleased that three House Democrats voted against articles of impeachment last year and would like to see a similar result in the Senate.
The most likely candidate is West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, The Post reported, given that Manchin has taken Trump’s side in other votes, including the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
On Saturday, Manchin “struck a conciliatory note toward the president Saturday, becoming the only Democrat to publicly praise Trump’s defense team even as he called for more witnesses, such as former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.”
“I thought they did a good job in presenting the defense for the president,” Manchin said. “The most important thing I took away from today was, they made very clear that there’s not one witness that we’ve heard from . . . that had direct contact with the president. That reaffirms why I have said we should have witnesses.”
But even if Manchin fails to make the president’s wish come true, there are other Senate Democrats who could potentially take his place. White House aides told The Post that “Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Doug Jones (Ala.) are also considered possibilities because they represent states Trump won in 2016.”
Still, it is Manchin who holds the most promise, the aides said. He and Trump have forged a kind of friendship that other Democrats have avoided.
The Post noted that “Trump agreed to take pictures with Manchin that were used in the senator’s 2018 campaign, and the president has called him out of the blue just to talk politics while repeatedly asking him to become a Republican.”
And the West Virginia Democrat has attended private movie screenings at the White House.
Though Trump has yet to contact Manchin about the impeachment trial, White House aides expect he will do so before the trial is finished.
And while Manchin has said he is taking Trump’s impeachment seriously and will vote to convict “if the facts are totally indisputable,” he is also keenly aware of the political damage such a vote could inflict back home.
“The voters are signaling to Joe, ‘We like you, but we don’t want you go to against our guy,’ ” David McIntosh, the leader of Club for Growth, told The Post. “In West Virginia, they have a deep loyalty to Manchin, but a lot of those same voters are really strong Trump supporters.”
It remains to be seen how Manchin will handle both the facts and the pressure surrounding impeachment.
“We have a good relationship because we connect,” he has said of the president.