Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) appears to be doing damage control after voting to find the president guilty on both articles of impeachment. Manchin is one of three Democratic senators that voted to find the president guilty who represent states the president won in 2016. Manchin also voted in favor of calling new witnesses and evidence and proposed a censure of the president in the days leading up to the final vote.
Manchin's West Virginia colleague, GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, said in a recent Fox News interview that Manchin's vote wasn't being well-received back in West Virginia.
"Probably," Sen. Capito began, "Senator Schumer just pulled the noose a little tight and said, 'C'mon everybody. We're going to jump off this cliff together.' And back here, West Virginians are very surprised."
To address Capito's comments, Manchin gave his first TV interview since voting to find the president guilty of both articles of impeachment.
Manchin maintained that he's "the most conservative Democrat in all of Congress" and said he could defend his votes to convict the president.
"I can explain this vote," Manchin said. "It might not be popular in my state right now. And, we'll just see. History will tell. But the bottom line is the evidence was very clear, and I was hoping, I truly was hoping, that we would see evidence and new witnesses that maybe could give some doubt or some clarity to it. But what we saw was overwhelming."
On his suggestion to censure the president, Manchin said he was hoping a censure would be a way to admonish the president in a bipartisan way.
"I labored over this and it was the most difficult decision I have ever made since I've been in Congress or in public life," Manchin added.
President Trump tweeted on Friday that he was "surprised [and] disappointed" to learn Sen. Manchin had voted to convict him, adding "[n]o president has done more for the great people of West Virginia." Trump also stated that he was told by many "Manchin was just a puppet for Schumer [and] Pelosi."
I was very surprised & disappointed that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted against me on the Democrat’s totally partisan Impeachment Hoax. No President has done more for the great people of West Virginia than me (Pensions), and that will....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020
....always continue. Every Republican Senator except Romney, many highly religious people, all very smart, voted against the Impeachment Hoax. @SenCapito was all in (a great person). I was told by many that Manchin was just a puppet for Schumer & Pelosi. That’s all he is!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020