If Sen. Joe Manchin bolts the Democratic Party, he’d be more likely to switch to independent — and caucus with the Democrats — than become a Republican, people close to him tell Axios.
Driving the news: Manchin’s surprise body blow to President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda set off new speculation across the Democratic Party — including inside the White House — that he may leave the party next year.
- The timing and destination of Manchin’s declaration: “I can’t get there. This is a no” — on “Fox News Sunday,” days before Christmas — seemed designed for maximum impact. But it wasn’t immediately clear to what end, or what had prompted it.
- The White House was caught off guard and responded with an angry statement.
- Manchin has consistently denied any interest in leaving the party, most recently after Mother Jones reported in October that Manchin had told associates that he had an exit plan. “I can’t control rumors, and it’s bull**** … capital B,” Manchin told reporters.
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