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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), seen here in Nov. 2016, should not be part of the Democratic leadership, a group of progressive organizations said Thursday. (Photo: Governor Earl Ray Tomblin/flickr/cc)

Progressive Groups to Schumer: Stand for the Resistance and Ditch Manchin

CREDO, #AllOfUs, Democracy for America, Other98, and 350 Action say West Virginia senator's recent record shows he doesn't stand up for progressive values

Andrea Germanos

A group of progressive organizations is calling on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to boot Joe Manchin from his party leadership position, saying the West Virginia senator's recent record proves he's unfit to be among those spearheading resistance to the Trump administration's right-wing agenda.

Drawing immediate ire from progressive advocacy groups, Manchin, who serves as Senate Democrats' vice chairman of the Policy and Communications Committee, was the only Democrat to join Republicans and vote to confirm former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin—dubbed by some the "foreclosure king"—as Treasury Secretary.

His was the only Democratic vote in favor of Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general. He also joined just two other Democratic senators—Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Mark Warner (Va.)—to "vote for climate disaster" and confirm former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.

On top of that, CREDO, #AllOfUs, Democracy for America, Other98, and 350 Action said in a statement Thursday, during a closed-door meeting President Donald Trump held with 10 senators this month, "Manchin reportedly remained silent while Trump launched a racist tirade against Sen. Elizabeth Warren." Trump reportedly referred to her several times as Pocahontas.

"Senator Schumer has the responsibility to stand up for progressive values and lead the Trump resistance in the Senate," said CREDO Action senior campaign manager Heidi Hess. "Joe Manchin's constant refusal to stand up against Republicans' racist, sexist, and misogynist agenda disqualifies him from serving as a leader of the resistance party," she said.

Added 350 Action Executive Director May Boeve: "At a moment when Democratic party should be a firewall against Trump's hateful, climate-wrecking agenda, Manchin has repeatedly thrown his weight behind the Trump administration."

"The stakes are higher than ever before, and progressives deserve elected officials that put us first. Manchin is more loyal to fossil fuel billionaires than he is to the Democratic Party base. It's time for Chuck Schumer to stand with the resistance by dropping Joe Manchin from the Democratic leadership team," Boeve continued.

The groups' demand marks just the latest call for the party not to enable Trump.

On the eve of Election Day, political and economic commentator Robert Reich wrote that, along with the corporate media and the Republican Party, "a third set of Trump enablers is at the helm of the Democratic Party. "

"Senate Dems' response to millions taking to the streets is beyond disappointing," commented Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of the online advocacy group UltraViolet, to Huffington Post last month. "It is outright shameful," she said. 

The Associated Press also reports Friday that Manchin is among those Democratic senators facing re-election next year who, like many Republicans, is dodging town hall meetings where he could face "unscripted questions."

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