Manchin, who represents a red state dependent on the coal industry and who has clashed with the socialist wing of his party before, reacted after Biden vowed Friday to replace coal energy with wind and solar and shut down plants “all across America.”
“President Biden’s comments are not only outrageous and divorced from reality, they ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs,” Manchin said in the statement. “Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden and instead believe he does not understand the need to have an all in energy policy that would keep our nation totally energy independent and secure.”
My statement on comments President Biden made about shutting down coal plants: pic.twitter.com/LEeqrGdwqm
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 5, 2022
Biden’s comments came at an event in Carlsbad, California, where he touted his administration’s economic policies.
“I was in Massachusetts about a month ago on the site of the largest old coal plant in America. Guess what? It cost them too much money,” Biden said. “No one is building new coal plants because they can’t rely on it, even if they have all the coal guaranteed for the rest of the existence of the plant,” Biden said. “So it’s going to become a wind generation.”
“And all they’re doing is, it’s going to save them a hell of a lot of money and using the same transmission line that they transmitted the coal-fired electric on, we’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar power.”
Manchin’s strongly worded statement taking aim at his party’s standard bearer, coming just days before the midterm elections, was a dramatic escalation of his alienation from fellow Democrats.
“It seems his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day,” Manchin said of Biden. “Politicizing our nation’s energy policies would only bring higher prices and more pain for the American people.”
Manchin, who backed the Biden administration’s so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” which included green energy initiatives, called Biden’s words “offensive and disgusting.” He demanded an apology from the White House on behalf of coal workers, many of whom have lost their jobs as the Left seeks to replace fossil fuels with green energy.
“Let me be clear, this is something the President has never said to me. Being cavalier about the coal jobs for men and women in West Virginia and across the country who literally put their lives on the line to help build and power this country is offensive and disgusting,” Manchin said. “The President owes these incredible workers an immediate and public apology and it is time he learn [the] lesson that his words matter and have consequences.”