There is a chance Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) may run for president in the future, the moderate lawmaker told NBC News on Wednesday.
When Manchin announced last week that he would not be seeking reelection for his seat in the Senate in 2024, many journalists, political analysts and pundits wondered whether that meant he was planning a bid for the presidency.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker, in an interview aired Wednesday, asked Manchin several times whether he was going to announce a presidential campaign. Manchin eventually said he would consider it.
“I will do anything I can to help my country, and you’re saying, ‘Does that mean you would consider it [running for president]?’ Absolutely,” Manchin told Welker in the interview.
“Every American should consider it if they’re in a position to help save the country,” he added.
Notably, Manchin thinks that “the extreme left and right” are the biggest threat to the country and that those in the middle can push America forward, he wrote in an opinion piece for USA Today earlier this year.
When he announced last week that he wouldn’t seek reelection, Manchin mentioned that he would be “speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle.”
He echoed that sentiment in his interview with Welker by critiquing both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. He added that he planned to “do everything in [his] power to make sure, to mobilize that moderate, sensible, commonsense middle.”
Manchin declined to state whether he would run as a Republican, Democrat or independent if he were to run against Biden. He also said he “would never be a spoiler,” hinting that he’d avoid a run that would damage Biden’s campaign.
Manchin has challenged Biden’s policies repeatedly, notably as the key holdout on Biden’s reconciliation bill in 2021, but his retirement from the Senate does pose an obstacle for Democrats who hope to keep control of the Senate. With the makeup of the Senate today giving Democrats a slim 51-49 edge over Republicans, the loss of Manchin’s seat to a Republican could tip the balance.