Days after he shook up the political world by announcing his retirement from Congress, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin is teasing a presidential campaign.
The self-described "centrist" Democrat told NBC's Kristen Welker that he "absolutely" would consider running for president, while expressing concern that President Trump will end "democracy" if he wins in 2024.
"I'm totally, absolutely scared to death that Donald Trump would become president again," he said. "I think we will lose democracy as we know it."
Days ago, Manchin announced he would not seek re-election, a decision that was seen as a blow to his party's hopes of holding onto their narrow Senate majority. Manchin was facing a tough re-election battle in West Virginia against Republican governor Jim Justice, who has Trump's backing.
Manchin said he does not want to be a "spoiler" in the presidential race but he will do what he thinks is right for the country.
"I will do anything I can to help my country, and you're saying, 'Does that mean you would consider it?' Absolutely," Manchin told Meet the Press.
"Every American should consider it if they're in a position to help save the country," he added.
Manchin, although a Democrat, has often presented himself as an independent voice and a critic of the two-party system.
"I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure, to mobilize that moderate, sensible, commonsense middle," he said.
Despite his "centrist" shtick, Manchin spoke more favorably of Biden than Trump. He said Biden moved "too far to the left" but downplayed popular concerns that he is too old to be in power.
“When I’ve met with Biden, we’ve always had a very active engagement,” he said.
Trump has been leading Biden in recent polls, leading many Democrats to fear Biden is vulnerable. However, many say it's too late in the game for Democrats to swap Biden with another candidate.
It's uncertain whether Manchin would run as an independent or mount a primary challenge to Biden - or if Manchin's candidacy would take more votes from Trump or Biden.
A Fox News poll found that Trump would defeat any Democrat who goes up against him, including Manchin - who fared the best with just a one-point deficit.