White House responds to Manchin’s ‘divorced from reality’ response to coal elimination remarks

President Joe Biden responded through his press secretary to comments from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) blasting him on Friday after Biden said he would shut down all coal plants and replace them with solar and wind electricity, arguing that coal was too expensive to operate.

“President Biden’s comments are not only outrageous and divorced from reality, they ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs,” Manchin said in a statement. “Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden and instead believes he does not understand the need to have an all in energy policy that would keep our nation totally energy independent and secure.”

“It seems his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day,” Manchin added. “Politicizing our nation’s energy policies would only bring higher prices and more pain for the American people.”

Walking it back

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said what amounted to a walking-back of Biden’s comments after Manchin, whose state West Virginia has many coal plants, showed his displeasure.

“The President’s remarks yesterday have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense,” Jean-Pierre said on Saturday.

She continued, “The President was commenting on a fact of economics and technology: as it has been from its earliest days as an energy superpower, America is once again in the midst of an energy transition. Our goal as a nation is to combat climate change and increase our energy security by producing clean and efficient American energy.”

Walking the line

Biden’s latest spending bill, the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act, was passed with Manchin’s support. It provides $369 billion for climate change initiatives.

Both Manchin and Biden have been trying to walk a thin line between two different political perspectives for some time now.

Biden wants to keep gas and energy prices reasonable while “transitioning” from coal and oil to wind and solar, but he doesn’t seem to have any realistic view of the costs of these renewable technologies and seems to think cash-strapped Americans already dealing with massive inflation should just be able to switch over at the drop of a hat.

Manchin wants to support Democrat initiatives at least some of the time but relies on coal plants and conservative voters to keep himself in power.

What’s going on?

Is Manchin unaware of Biden’s radical agenda? Is Biden so tone-deaf and as Manchin said, “divorced from reality” that he doesn’t see how shutting down coal will impact the American people?

It doesn’t seem like either one of them are exactly consistent in their goals and messaging.