Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tore his West Virginia colleague Joe Manchin in a fiery Sunday news interview in which the progressive lawmaker also condemned the president Joe Biden‘s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
Sanders clashed with ABC News This Week host Martha Raddatz when she dared to address Manchin’s “abrupt” opposition to Biden’s climate change Measures that the Democrats have been negotiating on the sidelines for months.
“He didn’t do anything suddenly,” Sanders yelled over Raddatz’s attempt to ask about the conservative democrat. “He sabotaged the President’s agenda.”
He accused Manchin and his conservative Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona of “deliberately” going against “what the American people want.”
Sanders also wrote off Manchin’s concerns about the impact of a spending package on rising inflation as “nonsense”.
But even Biden was not spared from Sanders’ dissatisfaction. On Saturday, the supreme commander returned from his visit to the Middle East, where he met with Israeli leaders and embarked on a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia – despite his campaign promise to make the Arab nation an “outcast” following the 2018 killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi of the Washington Post.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said of whether Biden should have gone.
Citing the violent murder of Khashoggi, Sanders said, “I don’t think that kind of government should be rewarded with a visit from the President of the United States.”
The self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist acknowledged that despite falling in recent weeks, petrol prices remain painfully high for most families. But rather than see an opportunity in Saudi Arabia and its de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Sanders suggested the US should crack down on energy companies and their record profits.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has attacked colleague Joe Manchin during a fiery interview on ABC News after he opposed Democrats’ climate change proposals
“We need to tell the oil companies to stop ripping off the American people and if they don’t, we should give them a windfall profits tax,” Sanders said.
For months, Democrats have argued that the most lasting solution to rising gas prices is to accelerate the clean energy transition.
The country’s shift away from fossil fuels and cutting carbon emissions, especially in the face of the worsening effects of climate change, has been a cornerstone of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
But after months of high-level negotiations, Manchin torpedoed Democrats’ chances of passing Biden’s climate agenda in Congress Thursday when he reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he would not support such provisions in her party’s budget bill.
Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, told Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday that he opposes climate change proposals in a possible spending bill
The 50-50 split in the Senate means virtually every Democrat must vote in lockstep to pass a majority of Biden’s more progressive agenda items. It has also given Manchin and Sinema an outsized impact on their party.
“Six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin — to a lesser extent Sinema — who are deliberately sabotaging the President’s agenda, which is what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic Group want,” Sanders said .
‘Nothing new about it. And the problem was that we kept talking to Manchin like he meant business. He was not’
The Manchin and Sinema opposition were responsible for codifying Democrats’ attempts to codify voting rights and abortion protections, and for passing Biden’s ambitious spending plan known as Build Back Better.
Manchin, who slammed climate legislation on Thursday, sparked a wave of criticism from his Democrats – including an irate Sanders.
“This is a guy who’s a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who’s received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires,” the Vermont senator said.
Sanders dismissed Manchin’s statement that he was acting out the will of West Virginians and responding to the rising cost of consumer goods – which rose an average of 9.1 percent in June from a year earlier.
It was “the same nonsense that Manchin has been talking about for a year,” the progressive lawmaker said.
“West Virginia – it’s a beautiful state and I’ve had the pleasure of being there. Nice people. It is one of the poorest states in this country.”
Sanders also criticized President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, citing the kingdom’s alleged involvement in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi
US inflation rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and better than economists had forecast. Sanders dismissed Manchin’s inflation concerns as “nonsense.”
He insisted his residents would benefit from provisions like expanded Medicare and higher taxes for the ultra-wealthy and big corporations.
“Ask the people of West Virginia if all people should have health care as a human right like in every other country on earth. That’s what they’re going to say,” Sanders said.
“In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America.”
And Sanders warned that Manchin’s opposition to climate change proposals will have implications for the “future of the planet.”
“So if Manchin is sabotaging climate change, that’s future generations what’s happening right now. In the West, around the world, we’re seeing a lot more – more and more heat waves. You should expect more flooding. This is an existential threat to humanity,” he explained.
Sanders’ closing message was a public call for voters to vote for “more progressive Democrats” in future elections — another veiled smack at the South-Central.
The President pledged last week to take “strong” action to slow the effects of climate change following Manchin’s about-face.
“If the Senate does nothing to address the climate crisis and bolster our homegrown clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet that moment,” Biden said in a statement.