“I support my dear friend Lisa Murkowski. Alaska could only be so lucky to have her continue to serve them,” Manchin told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” reiterating his previous endorsement of his fellow Republican in his upcoming Alaska Senate race.
“It’s hypocritical to work with a person day in and day out and then when they cycle you’re supposed to be against them because they have an R or D to their name,” he explained.
She said it can be “uncomfortable” to break from the party, but “you have to be comfortable enough with who you are and who you represent and why you are here. I’m not here to be the representative of the Republican Party. I’m here to be the representative of the people of Alaska, and I take that office very, very seriously.”
Murkowski also said she would support Manchin if he chooses to run for office in 2024.
If he does run, the West Virginia Democrat could face a challenge from his party’s left wing, which harbors frustrations with Manchin for refusing to vote to change filibuster Senate rules. to pass suffrage legislation.
Manchin, however, brushed off the fact that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not directly say whether he would support Manchin and fellow Arizona moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema against the main challengers.
He said he’s spoken to Schumer in recent days “about this and everything.”
“No way, shape or form (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell or Chuck Schumer is going to support their caucus. It’s just not going to happen,” he said, noting he’s faced major challenges throughout his political career, which dates back to 1982.
Manchin also spoke about the importance of bipartisanship, telling Tapper, “I don’t think politics was designed to be comfortable, but it certainly wasn’t designed to be miserable.”
He said he spoke with both Schumer and McConnell, and they both supported bipartisan efforts underway in the chamber.
The moderate Democrat, who effectively ended negotiations on President Biden’s social spending bill late last year, said he had spoken to the president, but did not not focused on this legislation.
“We had a conversation but we really haven’t brought it up. At the moment our main concern is to get a budget,” he said, referring to ongoing negotiations to fund the government. beyond February 18.
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to better reflect Manchin’s position on key potential challenges.