Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pressed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on his sudden emergence as the key pivotal figure in the Senate, wondering aloud on Sunday whether the conservative Democrat is “enjoying” his powerful position just a “little too much.”
“Do you like being the most powerful member of Congress, the swing vote in a 50/50 Senate?” Do you like that, sir?” Wallace noted during his Fox News Sunday interview with the West Virginia lawmaker.
“No, I do not and I did not lobby for this, I did not seek it out,” Manchin insisted.
Wallace then pointed out that Manchin—who recently forced modifications that watered down the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that the Senate passed on Saturday—has been a deterrent to Democrats getting major reforms passed, such as ending the Senate filibuster, raising the minimum wage, or expanding the Supreme Court.
The Fox News anchor went on to highlight the fact that Manchin has become extremely media-friendly in recent weeks—and was especially busy on Sunday.
“You are on four Sunday shows today, and the question I have is, are you enjoying your position of power maybe a little too much?” Wallace declared with a knowing grin.
“I sure hope not,” Manchin shot back. “Oh, my goodness. That would be horrible. That’s not—no. I want to make sure people understand. I am in that common-sense middle. That’s who I am!”
“Common-sense middle” clashes a bit with Manchin literally shooting a cap-and-trade bill with a gun in a notorious TV spot a decade ago. But after the Internet exploded over the way in which his centrist Arizona colleague Kyrsten Sinema voted against adding a $15 minimum wage to the relief package, Manchin had the Sunday shows to himself—whether he liked it or not.