Joe Manchin: 'Don't give a s--t' about attacks

Story highlights

  • Manchin faces a tough re-election fight
  • His opponent continues to seize on his leadership role to tie him to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer

Washington (CNN)Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is heading into his re-election fight as a top target for Republicans, but to hear him tell it, he does not care about the pressure on his seat.

"I just don't give a s--t," Manchin told the Charleston Gazette-Mail when asked about criticism from an opponent.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican challenging Manchin in the 2018 Senate race, issued a letter last week calling on Manchin to resign his position in Senate Democratic leadership, casting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as far too liberal and at odds with the interests of West Virginia.
    Manchin was one of three Democrats not to sign onto a recent letter laying out Democratic priorities on the tax reform debate. He told the Gazette-Mail in a story published Sunday he supported his fellow Democrats in principle but wanted to keep leeway for Republican support.
    "The bottom line is, if it doesn't help West Virginia, it doesn't make sense to me," Manchin said. "And just because there's an election doesn't mean I sign on or don't sign on."
    When the paper went on to ask Manchin if his decision was about politics and the coming election, Manchin offered a forceful denial.
    "Don't care if I get elected," Manchin said. "Don't care if I get defeated. How about that?"
    Manchin, one of the most conservative Senate Democrats, faces a tough re-election fight in a state that leans strongly Republican. In 2016, President Donald Trump won the state by a massive margin. Election results from the West Virginia Secretary of State's office said Trump garnered 68.6% of the vote compared to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's total of 26.5%.
    And last week, Trump visited the state and spoke with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who used the opportunity to announce he was leaving the Democratic Party to become a Republican.
    In response to Manchin's comments, Morrisey issued a statement reiterating his call for Manchin to resign his leadership role.
    Manchin's office declined CNN's request for comment Monday.