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Manchin’s Vote to Impeach Trump Prompts Intense Responses

West Virginians' reactions to Sen. Joe Manchin's vote this week to impeach President Donald Trump have ranged from angry to supportive. (Wikimedia)
West Virginians' reactions to Sen. Joe Manchin's vote this week to impeach President Donald Trump have ranged from angry to supportive. (Wikimedia)
February 7, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - As President Trump takes a victory lap over his impeachment acquittal this week, the nation is reacting strongly to guilty votes by centrist Senators in the historic trial. In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin's vote has left many folks angry, since Mountain State voters overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016.

But Belinda Biafore, chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party, says others think his vote was the right thing to do.

"I'm proud to stand with Sen. Manchin in defending our nation and the Constitution, and everything that we stand for as West Virginians," says Biafore. "He doesn't do things 'Democrat' or 'Republican' - he does what's best for West Virginia and best for America."

However, state Senate President Mitch Carmichael, a Jackson County Republican, says he's heard from hundreds of his constituents now furious with Manchin. He says they'd like to see the senator removed from office because he voted against a president they think has been good for the state.

Folks across the nation were closely watching Manchin's impeachment decision.

As a moderate, he's sided with Trump on tough votes before, such as during the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And he called on the Senate to censure Trump rather than impeach.

But ultimately, Biafore points out that his decision came when Republicans refused to allow documents or witnesses in the impeachment trial.

"He feels like a lot of us do," says Biafore. "How do you even have a trial when you can't bring in a witness? And we have to look at the fact, he knows a lot more about what happened than we do. So, in his gut he knew it was wrong - and so, I think that's why he voted the way he did."

A spokesperson from Sen. Manchin's office says he has received "mixed" reactions to his vote, and he expected some backlash. The most recent national poll shows 50% of registered voters approve of removing Trump from office, while 43% disapprove.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - WV