A safe bet: these comments from President Trump in an interview with the New York Times will play a big part in the National Republican Senate Committee’s efforts against West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin next year.
TRUMP: So. … We started taxes. And we don’t hear from the Democrats. You know, we hear bull[bleep] from the Democrats. Like Joe Manchin. Joe’s a nice guy.
SCHMIDT: He is a very nice guy.
TRUMP: But he talks. But he doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t do. “Hey, let’s get together, let’s do bipartisan.” I say, “Good, let’s go.” Then you don’t hear from him again. I like Joe. You know, it’s like he’s the great centrist. But he’s really not a centrist. And I think the people of West Virginia will see that. He not a centrist.
Manchin broke with his party on a few key votes early on, most notably the confirmation vote for Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General. But he’s voted with the rest of his party on the tax bill and the efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, he votes with the president’s position about 53 percent of the time. That’s the highest percentage for any Senate Democrat, but even the Republican who opposes Trump’s position most often, Maine Senator Susan Collins, votes with the president about 82 percent of the time. (A decent number of Senate votes enjoy bipartisan majorities, such as extending government funding and avoiding a government shutdown, disaster relief for Puerto Rico, and raising the debt limit.)