By Terrance Turner
Photo from Getty Images.
Feb. 19, 2021
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has said he will oppose the confirmation of Neera Tanden, President Biden’s nominee for the Office of Management and Budget. This imperils her nomination: unless a Republican joins Democrats in voting for Tanden, she will not be confirmed. Manchin cited negative comments about Republicans that Tanden tweeted while running the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.
Slate detailed the controversy over Tanden’s tweets. She says she regrets calling Mitch McConnell “Voldemort,” and Sen. Susan Collins “the worst,” or tweeting that “vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz.” She regretted tweets insinuating that Russians hacked actual voting machines, to Donald Trump’s benefit, in the 2016 election. The social media remarks have been scrutinized, largely on the right, since her nomination. But she was also criticized by the left for tangling publicly with Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). (She also regrets fighting with pro-Sanders Twitter accounts about the prudence of pursuing single-payer health care legislation.)
Manchin said he thinks Tanden’s tweets will adversely affect congressional relations. “I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination,” said Manchin.
As NPR noted, Manchin has a history of breaking with his party. (He also expressed opposition to the $2000 checks in Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill — widely supported by Democrats and many Americans.) But Manchin’s vote this time is drawing the ire of many political observers. They point out that he voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, despite the credible allegation of sexual assault against him. Manchin also voted to confirm former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who used the Bible to defend snatching immigrant children from their parents and who infamously “joked” that he thought “the Klan was OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
Manchin is being attacked on Twitter for what looks like a glaring double standard.