- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2020

Sen. Joe Manchin, who was one of President Trump’s few Democratic allies in the Senate before he voted for impeachment, now has gone full bore against Mr. Trump.

In a fundraising email Friday, Mr. Manchin doubled down on his vote to remove Mr. Trump from office, accusing the president of placing himself above the law and dividing the country.

“I voted for the articles of impeachment against the President because there was overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump abused the power of the Office of the Presidency for his own political favor. This is not who we are as a country!” he wrote in the email.

Mr. Manchin, a three-term senator from solidly Republican and decidedly pro-Trump West Virginia, previously walked a fine line between allegiance to his Democratic Party and placating Mr. Trump.

He was considered the most likely Democrat to cross the aisle in the impeachment vote. When he joined every other Senate Democrat to vote to convict and remove Mr. Trump, the president expressed his displeasure on Twitter.

“Can’t say I mind the fact that the great people of West Virginia are furious at their puppet Democrat Senator, Joe Manchin. They will never forget his phony vote on the Impeachment Hoax,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “All he had to do is read the Transcripts, sadly, which he wouldn’t understand anyway.”

Mr. Manchin cited the tweet in the email.

“He can’t attack me on something credible, so he’s resorting to calling me childish names like a ‘puppet’ and insulting all West Virginians by suggesting we can’t read and don’t understand his actions,” Mr. Manchin said.

“Names don’t bother me, and we clearly understand that his abuse of power is wrong,” he said. “What bothers me is a president that thinks he is above the law as he works every day to divide this nation state by state. That needs to change.”

Mr. Manchin, 72, is not up for reelection until 2025. The email raised further doubts about his intention to run for a fourth term.

The email sought contribution to help flip the Senate to a Democratic majority.

The solicitation also took shots at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican facing a tough reelection race this year.

“With our President acting like the Divider-in-Chief, and Mitch McConnell running the show for him in the Senate — nothing is getting done!” he said, adding that Americans want officials to “grow up and start acting like responsible adults.”

“Instead of working together to pass the bills stacked on McConnell’s desk — Donald Trump and McConnell are putting party politics ahead of our country and the Constitution,” Mr. Manchin wrote.

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