Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday he would not commit to throwing his support behind President Joe Biden in 2024 when asked about the presidential race during his first TV interview since announcing he was not running for reelection, fueling speculation that the moderate Democrat might have higher political aspirations.
During a clip of the CBS interview, Norah O’Donnell asked Manchin “if it comes down to it” would he vote for former President Donald Trump or Biden—to which Manchin called her question a “hypothetical” since it’s unknown “who we’re going to have” as the candidates.
Manchin then said he would not vote for Trump, adding he would “want President Biden” if “changes would come.”
When asked if he was considering leaving the Democratic Party, Manchin did not directly answer and said he wasn’t sure the party thought he was “part of them” anyway.
What To Watch For
Manchin’s answers are from a half-minute clip of a CBS interview that will air Tuesday night.
Last week, Manchin announced he would not seek reelection for his Senate seat in 2024. Instead of running, he said he planned to travel the country and see if there was interest in “a movement to mobilize” the middle and “bring Americans together.” In the more than four-minute-long video announcing his retirement from the Senate, Manchin criticized Washington policies, saying every incentive is to “make our politics extreme.” That video led to widespread speculation that he might throw his hat into the upcoming presidential race. Manchin, who has served as senator since 2010, is considered the most conservative Democrat in the upper chamber. He’s frustrated many Democrats after siding with Republicans on key votes including voting to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Manchin’s announcement that he will not run for reelection all but guarantees Republicans will pick up another seat in the Senate as the state is deeply conservative—Trump won it in 2020 with nearly 69% of the vote. His announcement also throws further doubt on Democrats’ ability to retain control of the Senate in 2024 given their thin 51-49 majority over the GOP in the chamber, including the three independents who caucus with Democrats.