Former President Donald Trump on Aug. 5 said he would go to West Virginia to campaign against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) if the Democrats’ $740 billion tax hike and climate change deal, the “Inflation Reduction Act,” is passed.
The remark was made at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Texas when the Senate was debating on the landmark bill before finally passing it on Aug. 7.
According to Trump, the long-sought act will backfire on Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) when they seek to secure their seats in the upcoming elections.
“What happened to Manchin and Sinema … where did this new philosophy come from,” Trump said at the event, “I think if this deal passes, they will both lose their next election, I do believe that West Virginia and Arizona will not stand for what they did to them.”
The measure found its way to the floor after Manchin on July 27 announced that he had reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Then, not until Aug. 4, did Sinema, who had long opposed the tax hike deal, agree to move forward with the massive spending bill.
Trump hoped that his warning would halt the two Democratic senators from endorsing the passage of the bill.
“Maybe this speech can stop them, because when Manchin hears me say he’s going to lose West Virginia,” said Trump. “I’ll go down [there] and campaign against him as hard as anybody can.”
The Senate approved the Democrats’ sweeping health care and climate bill on Aug. 7 in a 51–50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.
Manchin shot down Trump’s comments and said that they would end up helping him in the next election bid.
“He did it in 2018 and it helped me so I got elected then, so maybe he’ll help me again,” Manchin said.
Machin applauded the sweeping legislation before the vote.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is the product of years of bipartisan conversations about the most impactful ways to produce more energy domestically, bring down energy and healthcare costs and pay down our debt. The IRA achieves this without raising taxes,” Manchin wrote on Twitter.
The lawmaker commented: “It’s a bill for America. We have an opportunity to lower drug costs for seniors, lower [Obamacare] health care premiums, increase our energy security, and invest in energy technologies—all while reducing our national debt.”
Manchin, a moderate Democrat, has secured a seat as governor, secretary of state, and senator in the red-oriented state where Trump led by nearly 40 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election.
He is slated to confront a Republican contender again in the 2024 Senate race, as Senate GOP Conference Chair John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) made clear, “We’re going to be focused on that seat in 2024.”
Joseph Lord and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.