The Slatest

Watch Chris Wallace Confront Manchin on Whether He’s “Being Naive” About Bipartisanship

Close-up of Manchin smiling
Sen. Joe Manchin in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Thursday. Michael Swensen/Getty Images

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace thinks Sen. Joe Manchin is missing the big picture and isn’t thinking strategically. And he wasn’t shy about giving the senator from West Virginia a piece of his mind during an interview Sunday that came after Manchin shook up Washington with an op-ed saying he will vote against sweeping voting rights legislation that is a Democratic priority. In the op-ed, Manchin also reiterated his opposition to eliminating the filibuster. And Wallace confronted Manchin on whether his insistence on maintaining the filibuster wasn’t counterproductive with his stated goal of more bipartisan cooperation.

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“You said you oppose scrapping the filibuster,” Wallace said. “The question I have is whether or not—and you say that you hope that will bring the parties together—the question I have is whether or not you’re doing it exactly the wrong way?” Wallace questioned whether it wouldn’t be a smarter strategy for Manchin to say he might consider getting rid of the filibuster because it could “give Republicans an incentive to actually negotiate.” Instead, the anchor said, “by taking it off the table, haven’t you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?”

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Manchin said he doesn’t agree with Wallace’s point of view because there are “seven brave Republicans that continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see them, not worrying about the political consequences.” Seven Republicans voted to convict former President Donald Trump. Manchin went on say that he was “very hopeful” and that he sees “good signs.” But Wallace again pushed back, pointing out that Republicans blocked the independent commission to investigate the Capitol riot and that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has outright said he wants to block President Joe Biden’s agenda. “Question,” asked Wallace. “Aren’t you being naive about this continuing talk about bipartisan cooperation?” Manchin responded by saying he wasn’t naïve and criticized McConnell for “trying to block all the good things that we’re trying to do for America,” but he insisted he will “continue working with my bipartisan friends” and expressed optimism that “hopefully we can get more of them.”

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