Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Saturday defended his vote to convict President Trump on two charges of impeachment, even as Trump mocked him on Twitter, dubbing him “Joe Munchkin.”
Manchin, who has represented a state Trump carried by 40 percentage points in 2016, previously voted against his own party on some issues; among them, he was the only Democrat who voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Manchin seemed on the fence about whether to acquit Trump in the days leading up to last Wednesday’s vote but said he ultimately voted with his party because Trump’s defense team refused to introduce key witnesses and produce relevant documents necessary to prove the president’s innocence.
Trump goaded Manchin, telling him to “read the transcript” of the July 25, 2019 phone call. Democrats had alleged Trump attempted to strongarm the president of Ukraine into opening an investigation into 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden in exchange for military aid; Trump and the White House have denied he did anything wrong.
“I’ve read the transcripts thoroughly & listened to the witnesses under oath. Where I come from a person accused defends themselves with witnesses and evidence,” Manchin responded on Twitter.
In the days since his acquittal, Trump has attacked the probe, calling it a “hoax” and lambasting the Democrats and lone GOP senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted to convict him.
Trump called Manchin a “puppet Democrat Senator” and claimed his constituents were “furious” with Manchin’s vote.
“The people of West Virginia will no longer look at weak & pathetic Joe Manchin the same (I got the Pension Bill approved, Manchin couldn’t do it),” Trump tweeted. “The wonderful people of Utah will never look at “grandstander” Mitt Romney with anything but contempt & disgust!”
Manchin fired back, accusing Trump of taking credit for key legislation that raised the minimum pension for state employees, including teachers.
“Pres. Trump – no Democrat has worked harder in a bipartisan way in the hopes that you would succeed. The people of WV know exactly who has worked day & night for the last 5 years to secure their healthcare & pensions & it wasn’t you,” Manchin tweeted.Vandana Rambaran is a reporter covering news and politics at foxnews.com. She can be found on Twitter @vandanarambaran