Fox News anchor Chris Wallace repeatedly pressed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Sunday over the centrist lawmaker’s stubborn insistence that a bipartisan consensus can be reached with Republicans, asking the senator straight-up if he was “being naive.”
Ahead of his appearance on Fox News Sunday, Manchin wrote an op-ed declaring that he will vote against Democrats’ sweeping voting-rights legislation, known as the For the People Act. The West Virginia senator also reiterated his opposition to any elimination or weakening of the legislative filibuster, claiming that it is necessary to “save democracy.”
With hopes of a bipartisan compromise on an infrastructure spending plan quickly fading and Senate Republicans recently using the filibuster to block the formation of an independent Jan. 6 commission, Wallace asked Manchin how he honestly believes he can get the GOP to work with Democrats.
“You said you oppose scrapping the filibuster,” the Fox News Sunday moderator observed. “The question I have is whether or not—and you say that you hope that will bring the parties together—the question I have is whether or not you're doing it exactly the wrong way?”
Wallace then attempted to give Manchin some advice on negotiating with his Republican colleagues.
“Hear me out on this,” the veteran newsman said. “If you were to keep the idea that maybe you would vote to kill the filibuster, wouldn't that give Republicans an incentive to actually negotiate because old Joe Manchin is out there and who knows what he's going to do? By taking it off the table, haven't you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?”
Saying “I don’t think so,” Manchin claimed he held out hope because there are “seven brave Republicans that continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see them, not worrying about the political consequences,” referencing current GOP senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump of impeachment.
“I’m just very hopeful and I see good signs,” Manchin added. “Give us some time.”
Pushing back, Wallace pointed out that Republicans had just used the filibuster to strike down an independent commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection, even though the legislation had majority support in the Senate and House.
“Republicans blocked that,” Wallace exclaimed. “Sen. McConnell, the head of the Republicans in the Senate, says that he’s 100 percent focused on blocking the Biden agenda. Question: Aren’t you being naive about this continuing talk about bipartisan cooperation?”
Manchin, however, denied that he was being naive while also saying that he holds out hope that Republicans will rise to the occasion.
“I think [McConnell’s] 100 percent wrong in trying to block all the good things that we're trying to do for America,” the moderate senator replied. “It would be a lot better if we had participation and we’re getting participation.”
“I'm going to continue to keep working with my bipartisan friends,” he continued. “There were 33 Democrats in 2017 that signed a letter to please save the filibuster and save our democracy. That’s what I’m trying to do.”