'I'm not from where they're from'
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Monday stood squarely behind his decision to "quash negotiations over President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda, stating that he was at his "wit's end" in talks with the White House," NBC News reports.
The senator explained himself during a long radio interview on West Virginia Metro News, claiming that while he's "not blaming anybody" for the collapse of negotiations, Democrats may not have realized how resolute he stood in his positioning. "We've been way far apart philosophically," he said of progressives.
"I knew where they were and I knew what they could and could not do. They just never realized it because they figured, surely to God we can move one person, surely we can badger and beat one person up," Manchin went on. "Well, guess what? I'm from West Virginia. I'm not from where they're from, and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they'll be submissive, period."
The senator said he was at his "wit's end" in negotiations, and that the White House knows "the real reason" he had to back out.
When pushed to elaborate, he only did so vaguely, explaining that "it's staff driven. I understand staff, it's not the president, it's the staff. And they drove some things and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable and they know what it is and that's it."
He also criticized Democrats for approaching lawmaking "as if you have 55 or 60 senators that are Democrats and you can do whatever you want," sharing he only moved forward with the reconciliation process in the first place to roll back 2017 tax cuts.
"I would like to hope there are still Democrats who think like I do," he said, but if not, "then they'll have to push me where they want me."