West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has changed his mind.
After initially stating that he could vote for President Trump, Manchin says that he will now support former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 race.
Manchin, a Democrat, voted to remove Trump from office during the impeachment hearing in the Senate.
Eyes were focused on Manchin’s vote after he announced in the fall that he could not and would not support Bernie Sanders for president, if he got the nomination.
Manchin’s support for Biden comes as a surprise, as Trump has been in the spotlight during the COVID-19 response while Biden has hunkered down inside his home.
More details on Manchin’s comments below:
President Trump's supporters remain steadfast to his pledge to put "America First."
Joe Biden, on the other hand, appears to be getting endorsements begrudgingly from leaders and former competitors.
Barack Obama, for example, issued a low-energy video endorsement for Biden after he became the presumptive nominee. It is widely accepted that had Obama endorsed Biden earlier in the race, the Democratic primaries would not have dragged out this long.
Manchin appears to be the next endorsement for Biden that is more lackluster than it is inspiring.
Fox News has more details on Machin's decision:
Sen. Joe Manchin, the independent-minded West Virginia Democrat who sometimes irks his party by siding with Republicans, intends to back fellow Democat Joe Biden for president, according to a report.
Manchin, 72, who has served in the Senate since 2010 after previously serving as West Virginia’s governor, was unequivocal about his plans Thursday in an interview with Politico.
“I will, absolutely,” Manchin said when asked if he will support Biden.
In February, he said he might endorse President Trump for reelection - although he voted to remove him from office.
Manchin, who is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, told Fox News last fall he wouldn’t support Sen. Bernie Sanders over Trump for president.
He said his endorsement will come with a plan to help save West Virginia jobs.
Trump won West Virginia by 42 percentage points in 2016.
This is the largest margin any president has ever had in the state.
Manchin's endorsement is an attempt to put West Virginia at play in November, but Trump's delivery on key promises may help him keep the state.
Senator Manchin was one of the few Democrats who said that Hunter Biden was relevant to the impeachment hearings.
He is long considered a "swing senator," and many wonder whether his endorsement of Biden is a barometer for what other swing voters are thinking.
The Hill reports that Biden's 48 percentage point win in the West Virginia primary may have tilted Manchin's endorsement:
Manchin has been thinking about endorsing Biden since the South Carolina primary in March, where Biden took more than 48 percent of the vote in what was then a crowded primary.
Voters in West Virginia share similar concerns as those in South Carolina, where the energy sector carries the economy. Manchin didn’t endorse Obama’s campaign, and in 2016 he nearly took back his endorsement of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton after she called for an end to coal mining. He was also one of a slew of Democratic senators who were vocally uncomfortable about the prospect of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) winning the nomination, according to the news outlet.
“I’m just trying to make sure that we’re working through a plan,” he said. “I’ve been working and talking to different people. We’re definitely getting there. You just can’t leave people behind that did the heavy lifting and that’s worked hard, whether it’s producing coal or producing energy for this country. They just need an opportunity to live their lives and have that opportunity. And I think Joe Biden understands that.”
Manchin’s endorsement comes after Biden became the presumptive nominee following Sanders's exit from the race. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for June, and though Sanders is no longer in the race, he is still hoping to gather enough delegates to garner some leverage and push Biden toward a more progressive platform at the Democratic National Convention.
While the chips are falling on the playing board, 2020 has shown us that a lot can change in just a few weeks.
Joe Biden's selection for his running mate, for example, will also impact whether Biden is seen as a moderate or as a radical.
Meanwhile, President Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that he can unite both parties in protecting American lives and livelihoods.
While previous stimulus packages were partisan affairs, President Trump was able to ensure that American workers and businesses got the support they need to survive.
Time will tell if Senator Manchin's endorsement will be able to eat into Trump's 42 percentage point hold on the state.