CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – During a call with members of the media on Friday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, dismissed suggestions of fraud in the presidential election, called for a peaceful transition of power should Joe Biden prevail and talked about what Democrats could do, at both the state and federal level, to be more successful in future elections.
On accusations of election fraud:
“We have to give the President credit. He got an awful lot of people energized and out to vote all over the country, both Republicans and Democrats,” Machin said.
Pointing to the fact that Republicans picked up seats in Congress, Manchin said that if there was fraud, it wouldn’t have just affected the presidential race. “When people start speaking of all these conspiracies and all this fraud and things that we’re hearing, you wouldn’t have that much of a victory by Republicans across this country if there had been fraud,” Manchin explained.
Sen. Manchin said the President can’t complain about Georgia and Pennsylvania, but not Arizona and continued that no one suggested fraud when Hilary Clinton lost close races. Manchin further said that he didn’t complain when he lost the 1996 Democratic primary for governor, chalking it up to his own inability to get his message out to the public at the time.
When asked, Manchin said he doesn’t know why top West Virginia Republicans, like Gov. Jim Justice would feed into the accusations of fraud, particularly given how well Republicans fared in the state. As a former Secretary of State himself, Manchin said Republican Mac Warner has done a good job with West Virginia’s election.
The senator defended the process: “Democracy does take time, but we’ve got to make sure that every vote is counted and certification is done, so that we know that every vote that was counted, was legally counted.”
Manchin described mail-in voting as a reliable option that’s been used since the Revolutionary War.
“Healing the nation”:
Manchin believes the results of the election show that the people have said they want a “different direction, moderation and checks and balances and that they don’t want political extremes on either side.” “It’s time for all of us to come together and put this partisanship aside,” the senator concluded.
Sen. Manchin said he’s been speaking to a lot of his Senate colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, and they all want to get to together and start healing the nation.
After listening to Biden say “I’m running as a Democrat for president, but I will govern as a president for all,” Manchin said “that’s exactly what we need. I’m hopeful that Joe Biden will be able to lead our country through a difficult time and unite us again. We’re going to hold his feet to the fire.”
Transition of power:
Manchin reminded media members on the call of the bill he introduced in September calling for a peaceful transition of power. The resolution passed unanimously.
“No one is surprised that President Trump won’t go willingly,” Manchin said, but “There will be a transfer no doubt about it. He can make it as sweet and nice and peaceful as he wants to or as ugly as he wants to. It’s up to him right now, but there will a transfer. It’s going to take a lot of Republican leaders to say ‘Mr. President, enough is enough. It’s time to move on.’ They did it with Richard Nixon. I’m very hopeful that will happen.”
“I don’t think he’ll ever concede. I don’t expect that to happen. Do I think he’ll call Joe Biden? I doubt it, but with that, will he accept it? I think there will be a time of reckoning that he’ll have to accept it and I hope it’s sooner than later,” Manchin said.
The future for Democrats:
Manchin believes that West Virginia Republicans benefitted from the strength of President Trump at the top of the ballot and blamed the national Democrat party for focusing on divisive issues like abortion, gun control and defunding the police. Manchin further believes that Democrats got associated with “AOC and far left ideas.”
The West Virginia Democrat Party can’t be identified by what he calls the “Washington Democrat Party,” and must focus on helping the working person, while telling its story better, Manchin said.
The senator’s most pressing goal is to fix healthcare and also hopes leaders in Washington will focus on fixes for things like broadband access and roads. “It’s wrong to split our country into rural and urban. We need to bridge the infrastructure gap. Potholes doesn’t have a Republican or a Democrat’s name on them. They’ll pop both of your tires,” Manchin said.