Democrat West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin made headlines last week when he told Fox News host Bret Baier that President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda would not be receiving his support in Congress’ upper chamber.
The move left the White House scrambling to try and salvage the legislative package — a job that Biden himself may have just made more difficult.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Biden was asked by a reporter whether he believes that Manchin “kept his word” regarding the bill.
“You know, I told you before — you’ve heard me say this before: Some people think maybe I’m not Irish because I don’t hold a grudge,” the president said in response, according to a White House transcript.
“Look, I want to get things done,” the president added. ” I still think there’s a possibility of getting Build Back Better done.”
He insisted: “What I don’t want to do is get into — and Joe went on TV today and — I don’t know if it was TV or not; I’m told he was speaking to the liberal caucus in the House and said, ‘Joe Biden didn’t mislead you, I misled you.’”
The president’s words apparently weren’t cleared with the rest of his administration, as journalist Kevin Liptak later reported in a tweet that they had been spoken in error.
“The President wanted to clarify that Senator Manchin did not characterize himself as having been ‘misleading,'” the White House said in a statement, according to Liptak.
Joe vs. Joe
The clarification comes shortly after the release of a new report from The Hill alleging that conduct from some inside the White House played a role in Manchin’s decision not to throw his support behind the Build Back Better Act.
The Hill’s Steve Clemons said sources told him Manchin objected to a statement released on Dec. 16 that the senator felt mischaracterized his position.
Clemons added that Manchin “believes in civility above all things” and that he took the statement as a personal slight — one that came even as he was being targeted by members of the far left.
Earlier this year, the West Virginia lawmaker was faced with loud protesters near his houseboat in Washington, with some opponents approaching by kayak, according to The Hill. In another instance, his vehicle was surrounded by protesters in a parking garage.