Is Joe Manchin 'sexist and racist'? Dem senator dithers on Deb Haaland after refusing to vote for Neera Tanden
Sen Manchin yet to decide on voting for Biden's cabinet picks, raising questions of sexism and racism
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin's indecision on President Joe Biden's picks have made him a trending topic on Twitter. In a historic moment, Deb Haaland is set to be confirmed as America's first Native American women cabinet member or would be if Sen Manchin confirms his vote.
Manchin's spokeswoman said that the senator was undecided on Biden's pick for Interior Secretary, much to the ire of Twitter. This comes days after the senator refused to vote for Office of Management and Budget director nominee Neera Tanden. He is also reportedly not sure of Biden's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Xavier Becerra.
With two picks being women and one a Latino, it raises the question - is Joe Manchin sexist and racist?
Is Manchin harming Dems progress?
With a 50-50 split in the Senate, Democrats need all their senators to vote to confirm any cabinet members. If even one member opposes, it would mean that the individual would be rejected, i.e. Biden would have to find someone else. It is unlikely that any Republicans will break ranks and vote to confirm Biden's picks. With Manchin opposing, it also gives them a cover of "bipartisan support" against the nominee. That seriously harms Biden's progressive agenda, if he is forced to pick a more centrist candidate.
Manchin is also yet to state why he has decided to vote against Haaland and Becerra. Tanden's past tweets have landed her in trouble with Manchin, which was to be expected from the centrist Democrat. But Haaland and Becerra have no such history. It is likely that Manchin's opposition lies in their progressive ideologies, which could further divide America's politicians. But until he clarifies why Americans will have to speculate.
Twitter asks 'Is it because they are women'
Manchin's opposition has made him the latest target for outrage on Twitter. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez picked up on Manchin's support for Jeff Sessions while highlighting the historical importance of Deb Haaland's confirmation.
Jeff Sessions was so openly racist that even Reagan couldn’t appoint him.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 22, 2021
Manchin voted to confirm him. Sessions then targeted immigrant children for wide-scale human rights abuses w/ family separation.
Yet the 1st Native woman to be Cabinet Sec is where Manchin finds unease? https://t.co/wyki5iE36Y
Some users have also highlighted what appears to be Manchin's sexism towards women in the cabinet. So far, he has voted to confirm only Janet Yellen, with several other women slated to be confirmed in the following days. "Joe Manchin has a pathological fear of strong, competent, intelligent women," stated one social media user. Another asked, "@Sen_JoeManchin is it because they’re women that you have some concerns about @RepDebHaaland and @neeratanden
? Because that’s what it looks like. You approved Kavanaugh who SCREAMED at your colleagues. I mean, come on."
Joe Manchin has a pathological fear of strong, competent, intelligent women.— Nodding Hill (@HillNodding) February 23, 2021
@Sen_JoeManchin is it because they’re women that you have some concerns about @RepDebHaaland and @neeratanden? Because that’s what it looks like. You approved Kavanaugh who SCREAMED at your colleagues. I mean, come on.— Danielle (@GetzOuttaHere) February 23, 2021
Others have also called Manchin a Republican, further highlighting just how partisan American has become in recent years. This is a worrying sign for Biden, who campaigned to unite America. "@Sen_JoeManchin voted for Sessions, Barr, and Kavanaugh but he questions Neera Tandem, doesn't want to vote on minimum wage increase, really, be careful your true colors are showing and they look republican," said one. Another said he might as well change parties with his behavior, "Manchin is a good ole boy. He might as well be a Republican."
@Sen_JoeManchin voted for Sessions, Barr, and Kavanaugh but he questions Neera Tandem, doesn't want to vote on minimum wage increase, really, be careful your true colors are showing and they look republican— JRstone324 (@rstone324) February 23, 2021
Manchin is a good ole boy. He might as well be a Republican— MVP Harris 💥😍🏳️🌈🎩🎯 (@ultmtpersister) February 23, 2021
Is Manchin 'sexist or racist'?
That's the big question some Twitter users are asking and there is merit in doing so. Biden has picked several women and minorities for key leadership roles and many of them could face trouble getting confirmed. So far, most of the backlash has been coming from conservatives and now it seems like Manchin has joined those ranks.
The question becomes even more apparent after Manchin's support for all of Trump's nominees except Betsy DeVos and Wilbur Ross. The reality though, is that Manchin is a centrist in a red state. While he is not up for reelection till 2024, Manchin's record will matter to his voters. It also matters for Democrats. Right now, he is a key player in the senate. Without Manchin, Republicans would be the majority party. Keeping Manchin in power is critical for Democrats, as they look to appeal to a wider range of voters post-Trump. To do that, Manchin will have to break ranks to serve his centrist politics.
That is why he is opposed to Tanden. Tanden's tweets, while nowhere near as controversial as those of several conservatives, is just controversial enough for Manchin to highlight. What may seem like sexism or racism is actually a carefully crafted political shield for Manchin.
If he really is sexist or racist, we will know in the following days as Gina Raimondo, Marcia Fudge and others face their confirmation hearings.
These remarks were made by the Internet and individual organizations, MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and nor does it support these claims being made on the Internet.