By ANDREW BROWN
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin is to meet with Donald Trump this morning, according to a report from Trump’s transition team, and West Virginia’s Republican Party is upset that the president-elect reportedly is considering West Virginia’s lone Democratic member of Congress for a Cabinet position.
In the past week, numerous news outlets have suggested that Manchin has been floated as a candidate for the secretary of energy or secretary of state — something the state Republican Party is publicly opposing.
“While Republicans in West Virginia appreciate President-Elect Donald Trump’s desire for a diverse Cabinet and his understanding of the need for bipartisanship, we, in the strongest possible terms, encourage him to choose a true conservative who has never sold out our energy industries and working families to the Obama-Clinton Team,” said Conrad Lucas, the state Republican chairman.
The expected meeting between Trump and Manchin was reported in The Washington Post, which provided a transcript of a daily news briefing from the Trump transition team.
“Looking ahead to Friday morning, the president-elect will be at Trump Tower meeting with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia,” said Jason Miller, the transition team’s communications director.
Jonathan Kott, Manchin’s communication director, said Thursday that his office still had not been given an indication of what the president-elect is expecting to speak with Manchin about.
Kott said the senator was instead focused on trying to rally support for a bill to save unionized coal miners’ pensions, which the Republican-led Congress has failed to pass.
Lucas and other state Republicans, however, are adamantly opposing any suggestion that Manchin be given a powerful position in the Trump presidency.
Calling West Virginia’s senior senator “Traitor Joe,” Lucas said Manchin has, for decades, “worked to promote himself, his family and his political cronies.”
Lucas specifically criticized Manchin for his support of the Affordable Care Act, his endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and an alternative-energy law passed by Manchin when he was governor, although it did little to nothing to expand renewable energy sources.
Lucas also attacked Manchin for his bipartisan effort to pass a bill that would have closed loopholes that allow people to avoid background checks when buying guns. He sponsored that law after 20 children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut.
Manchin is one of the most centrist Democrats in Congress, and often votes with Republicans on energy-related bills.
“West Virginians voted for Donald Trump at a higher percentage than any other state in the nation,” Lucas said. “West Virginia Republicans support Donald Trump and are more excited about his presidency than he could possibly imagine.”
See more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail