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.
They are really mad at Senator Joe Munchkin in West Virginia. He couldn’t understand the Transcripts. Romney could, but didn’t want to!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2020
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.
...But, just like 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), the wonderful people of Utah will never look at “grandstander” Mitt Romney with anything but contempt & disgust!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2020
Manchin fired back, accusing Trump of taking credit for key legislation that raised the minimum pension for state employees, including teachers.
Manchin has voted to confirm some of Trump's most controversial picks and it remains unclear if any of this will affect those votes in the future.
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.— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) February 9, 2020