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Joe Manchin lashes out at Biden over coal comments

Date:


Washington
CNN

On Saturday, Senator Joe Manchin slammed President Joe Biden after he called for coal plants in the US to be shut down, calling Biden’s comments “outrageous and divorced from reality” and suggesting he is “Time for me to learn a lesson.”

Biden, while speaking at a stop in Carlsbad, Calif., on Friday about CHIPS and the Science Act, said, “We’re going to shut these plants down across America and have wind and solar power that also provide tax credits to help families.” to buy energy-saving appliances.”

Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia who has longstanding ties to the coal industry, seized on the comments in a statement Saturday, calling them “not only outrageous and divorced from reality, but they ignore the severe economic pain that feel the American people because of rising energy costs.”

“Comments like these are why the American people are losing confidence in President Biden and instead believe he doesn’t understand the need for a comprehensive energy policy that would keep our nation fully energy independent and secure. . It seems that his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day. Politicizing our nation’s energy policies would only bring higher prices and more pain for the American people,” Manchin continued.

It is not unusual for Manchin, a moderate Democrat who has refused to say whether he thinks Biden deserves a second term, to criticize Biden’s agenda, and his reluctance at times to support Democratic initiatives has prevented the president from achieving some legislative goals. But Saturday’s statement is an extraordinary rebuke by a sitting US senator to the leader of his party, and serves to illustrate the current tension between the centrist and more progressive wings of the Democratic Party.

Manchin, a dark red state senator who is running for re-election in 2024, sought to further distance himself from Biden in his statement when he said, “Let me be clear, this is something the president has never told me.”

“Being arrogant about losing 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 empower this country is offensive and disgusting. The President owes these incredible workers an immediate and public apology and it is time for him to learn a lesson that his words matter and have consequences,” Manchin concluded.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded in a statement Saturday saying Biden’s words have been “skewed.”

“The President’s comments yesterday have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets if anyone who heard these comments was offended. The president was commenting on a fact of economics and technology: As it has been since its earliest days as an energy superpower, the United States 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 advocate for his state and the hard-working men and women who live there.”

This story has been updated with an additional reaction.

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