Sen. John Kennedy Tuesday defended Sen. Joe Manchin and his stance against ending the filibuster, saying that the West Virginia Democrat is under fire from members of his own party, including President Joe Biden, but that he also understands that ending the procedure will "blow up the Senate."
"Sen. Manchin, they’ve hit him with everything but a chair," the Louisiana Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "They’ve called him every name in the book. They haven’t started talking about his mama yet, but they probably will."
Manchin has been criticized for his stance against stopping the filibuster from Democrats because keeping the procedure in place is keeping them from pushing through legislation that also requires votes from Republicans to pass in the Senate, including the House voting reform bill.
Kennedy said he believes the issue is that the "leadership of the Democratic Party took a hard left and kept driving," but Manchin has remained a moderate.
"There are two groups in charge, the woke racists who have contempt for America and the managerial elite, who have contempt for the American middle class," said Kennedy. "I refer to them as the vanilla soy extra foam latte crowd. Sen. Manchin is not a member of either one of those groups and he's been around this place a long time."
Manchin is also "intelligent" and "exercises power maturely," said Kennedy, and he knows that if the filibuster ends, Republicans won't just "go quietly into that good night. Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction."
Manchin's vote is key for Democrats to be able to pass agenda items, but on Sunday he said in an opinion piece for The Charleston Gazette-Mail in his home state that he not only opposes getting rid of the filibuster, but he opposes the Democrats' election overhaul legislation.
"I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster," Manchin wrote.
He also said in the article that any legislation to regulate voting must be passed in a bipartisan manner.
"Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized," said Manchin. "Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it."
For that reason, he wrote, "congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials."
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