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EXCLUSIVE: Several prominent Republicans sounded off on the Sunday declaration from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who said there is no way he can support the massive social spending bill known as the Build Back Better Act.
Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that despite having spoken with President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., he could not reach an agreement on the legislation because of ongoing inflation, the national debt, “geopolitical unrest” and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What he is doing is he is being a statesman,” said Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., who spoke to Fox News Digital at the Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest Conference 2021 in Phoenix, Ariz.
“It’s something that is completely lost in Washington right now,” Cawthorn added. “People believe they need to serve their state party; they need to serve the party leadership rather than serve the constituents that elected them and sent them to Washington, D.C.”
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Photo by Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Donald Trump, Jr. echoed Cawthorn’s sentiments. “Joe Biden campaigned for president as a moderate, but on virtually every issue he has governed like a woke left-wing zealot,” Trump told Fox News. “By opposing Biden’s multi-trillion dollar socialist boondoggle, Manchin is governing like the sane moderate Democrat that Biden pretended to be on the campaign trail.”
“It will be interesting to see if he holds the line against the coming onslaught from the radical Left,” the former president’s son added. “But for today, Manchin deserves credit for opposing this radicalism.”
Donald Trump, Jr. speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 09, 2021, in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Kyle LaBrue, a Republican candidate for Missouri’s 4th Congressional District, said he’s not surprised by Manchin’s stance.
“I’ll tell you why I’m not surprised,” said LaBrie. “I think America’s waking up and that includes people that are on the left who are saying these policies are destructive. They’re destructive for our country, they’re destructive for individuals, and most importantly they’re destructive for American families.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key holdout vote on President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, chairs a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Bo Hines, a Republican running for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, likewise said he was glad to hear of Manchin’s decision.
“Joe Manchin understands that President Trump’s approval rating in West Virginia is above 70%,” said Hines. “He knows he’s going to get sent home if he votes for this bill, because it doesn’t resonate with the American people and they’re going punish him for it.”
Former college football player Bo Hines is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. Photo courtesy of the Hines campaign
“I think this is a clear message to not only Democrats, but Republicans around the country that are considering siding with these leftist radicals in the Democratic Party,” Hines continued. “If you do that, you’re going to get booted out of Congress and we’re going to replace you with America First patriots.”
Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, said Manchin “represents America at its best.”
“It should always be about the policy, about our country, not politician or party,” said Owens. “What he’s showing is that his loyalty is to our country. At the end of the day, no one has looked at that bill and can with an honest conscience say it’s best for our country. It’s not going to be best for the American people, for business owners, for moms and dads. It’s going to be more divisive than ever before.”
Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, speaks during a news conference with other House Republican members on immigration in Washington on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Getty Images)
Despite support from across the aisle, Manchin has taken flak from progressive members of Congress for not supporting the Build Back Better agenda.
“Let’s be clear: Manchin’s excuse is bull—-,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted. “The people of West Virginia would directly benefit from childcare, pre-Medicare expansion, and long term care, just like Minnesotans. This is exactly what we warned would happen if we separated Build Back Better from infrastructure.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, said Manchin has “a lot of explaining to do,” and that he still wants the legislation to be brought forward for a floor vote so that Manchin can “vote no in front of the whole world.”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman, Kyle Morris, Ron Blitzer and Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.