Senator Joe Manchin slammed President Joe Biden on Saturday after he called for the shutdown of coal-fired power plants across the United States, saying Biden’s remarks are “outrageous and out of touch with reality” and suggesting he is ” time to learn a lesson”.
Biden, while speaking in Carlsbad, Calif., on Friday about the CHIPS and Science Act, said, “We’re going to shut down these factories all over America and have wind and solar also offering credit for tax to help families buy energy-efficient appliances.
Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat with longstanding ties to the coal industry, seized on the comments in a statement on Saturday, calling them “not only outrageous and divorced from reality, they ignore severe economic pain. that the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs.
“Comments like these are the reason the American people lose faith in President Biden and instead think they don’t understand the need for a comprehensive energy policy that would keep our nation fully independent and energy. It seems that his positions change depending on the public and the politics of the day. Politicizing our country’s energy policies would only raise prices and more suffering for the American people,” Manchin continued.
It’s not unusual for Manchin, a moderate Democrat who has declined to comment on whether he thinks Biden deserves a second term, to criticize Biden’s agenda, and his reluctance at times to support Democratic initiatives has kept the president from achieve certain legislative objectives. But Saturday’s statement is an extraordinary rebuke by a sitting US senator to his party leader and serves to illustrate the ongoing tension between the centrist and more progressive wings of the Democratic Party.
Manchin, a senator from a dark red state who is up for re-election in 2024, further sought to distance himself from Biden in his statement when he said, “Let’s be clear, this is something the president doesn’t tell me. never said.”
“To be cavalier about the loss of coal jobs for the men and women of West Virginia and across the country who are literally putting their lives on the line to help build and power this country is offensive and disgusting. The President owes these incredible workers an immediate and public apology and it is time he learned that his words matter and have consequences,” Manchin concluded.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded in a statement Saturday saying Biden’s remarks had been “twisted.”
“The president’s remarks yesterday were twisted to suggest meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone who heard these remarks was offended. The president was commenting on an economic and technological fact: as it has been since its beginnings as an energy superpower, America is once again in the midst of an energy transition,” said Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre’s statement only mentioned Manchin directly once, saying he is a “tireless defender of his state and the hard-working men and women who live there.”
This story has been updated with additional reaction.
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