Sen. Joe Manchin said he has a better relationship with President Donald Trump than he ever did with President Barack Obama, according to a profile in Politico.
The West Virginia Democrat told Politico that he has talked with Trump more during his administration than he talked with Obama during his entire eight years in office.
"I can call Donald Trump now, and he'll probably pick up. He picks up his phone. If you've got his number, he'll talk to you. Damnedest thing I ever seen in my life," Manchin said.
The senator said Trump called him without notice over Thanksgiving weekend to tell him he looked forward to working with him. "Just called me out of the clear blue sky," Manchin told Politico.
Manchin has run counter to many of his fellow Democrats, by voting for most of Trump's Cabinet appointees. He said that Democrats skipping Trump's inauguration was "uncalled for," according to CBS News.
"Our position is that Democrats in red states are shooting themselves in the foot for the November 2018 election if they are not fighting Trump," Adam Green, cofounder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told Politico.
During Obama's tenure, Manchin frequently criticized the president. In December 2016, he joined Republicans in slamming Obama regulations to crack down on the coal mining industry, The Washington Times reports.
Manchin's siding with Trump could lead to a difficult reelection fight in 2018.
"We know West Virginia voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump as president, and he has to represent his state, so it's not unusual for him to take the positions he does," Michigan Sen. Gary Peters told Politico.
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