Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Wednesday took a shot at grouchy members of his own party who refused to stand for any of President Trump’s State of the Union address — describing their behavior as “disrespectful.”
Manchin, whose state voted for Trump in 2016 and who is running for re-election, was speaking on “Fox & Friends” about how he stood when the president entered the chamber, and how he stood and applauded some of Trump’s policy proposals.
“That’s the way I was raised in West Virginia. We have respect,” he said. “There is some civility still yet. There should be civility in this place.”
Manchin stook out like a sore thumb among his colleagues as he was one of just a few red-state Democrats who applauded some of the president’s policy proposals on topics such as clean coal and infrastructure. Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., two other red-state Democrats facing tough re-election bids in November, also applauded some of the president’s remarks.
However, many Democrats refused to stand when Trump entered the chamber and stayed seated during the president’s applause lines — even apparently non-controversial lines such as when Trump hailed a record-low black unemployment rate.
Some members even chose not to stand when Trump honored Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise and praised his resolve for returning to work less than four months after he “took a bullet” from a gunman and “almost died.”
Manchin blasted such behavior as “disrespectful.”
“I’ve seen it on both sides when Obama gave speeches, Republicans. That’s disrespectful and last night was disrespectful,” he said.
Manchin said he welcomed when the president embraced issues that would help his state, refusing to walk out immediately after the speech as many of his colleagues did.
“Not me, I stayed there and shook his hand and thanked him because he talked about coal, we’re gonna do coal research and development, opioid addiction, I need that,” he said. ”Infrastructure, I’ve never seen a pothole that belongs to a Democrat or a Republican — we both get blamed for that one — so we’ve got to fix this stuff.”
Republicans seized on the Democrats’ refusal to stand as proof that Democrats are now the “party of sitting on their hands.”
“Democrats are no longer just the party of resistance and obstruction, they are now also the party of sitting on their hands,” said the Republican National Committee. “No matter the issue, Democrats chose to sit on their hands tonight.”
Fox News’ Joseph Weber contributed to this report.