Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that his Thursday speech on the Senate floor was “f***ing stupid.”
Manchin’s blunt assessment of Schumer’s remarks comes after the West Virginia senator was visibly upset in the Senate chamber, burying his head in his hands during Schumer’s speech. The particularly stark image underscored the battle that Manchin has waged for weeks attempting to restrain Democrats’ high-spending appetite.
Punchbowl News reported on Manchin’s alleged remarks to the Senate majority leader. Schumer claimed victory in a minor battle over a debt ceiling increase to stave off a government shutdown, buying some time for Democrats to attempt to resolve their infighting over a multi-trillion-dollar spending package. Schumer’s comments angered Republicans who supported the debt ceiling increase as well as Manchin. Punchbowl News’ morning newsletter said in part:
There was some last-minute drama, as well. Schumer went to the floor and harshly criticized Republicans for provoking the crisis. Schumer won this round of his never-ending battle with McConnell, and he made sure everyone knew it. But Republicans — and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — didn’t like the tone of Schumer’s remarks. Senate Minority Whip John Thune complained personally to Schumer on the floor, while Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) complained to reporters.
Manchin told Schumer the speech was “f***ing stupid,” according to four sources. Then Manchin complained to reporters too. The incident doesn’t really signify anything, except to show how tense everyone is in the Senate these days. And it’s only going to get worse.
Manchin was visibly upset during Schumer’s speech, giving off an on-camera reaction shown just over the Senate majority leader’s left shoulder. As The Daily Wire reported:
“Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted they wanted a solution to the debt ceiling, but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn out convoluted and risky reconciliation process,” Schumer said as Manchin looked on from behind shaking his head and putting his hands on his face in an apparent display of frustration. “That was simply unacceptable to my caucus.”
Schumer claimed that that this would have been the “first ever Republican manufactured default on the national debt,” even though Senate Republicans have warned Schumer for months that Democrats would need to use the reconciliation process to increase the debt ceiling.
Schumer said that Republicans need to “stay out of the way and let Democrats address that debt limit ourselves,” which is precisely what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was allowing them to do by forcing them to use the reconciliation process to raise the debt limit.
Manchin later explained his frustration to reporters after Schumer’s speech. “I didn’t think it was appropriate at this time,” he said.
“We had talked about that,” the West Virginia senator continued. “But he felt charged up and he and I have good conversations.”
Manchin later said that Schumer’s victory lap was not appropriate because “I just think that basically what we got to do is find the pathway forward and make sure that we de-weaponize; we have to de-weaponize. You can’t be playing politics; none of us can, on both sides, and both sides have been very guilty of this. The frustration was built up.”