Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., aka (by President Trump) “Joe Munchkin,” said Monday that he wasn’t bothered by a flurry of weekend taunts by Trump, who has singled him out, along with Mitt Romney, R-Utah, for abuse for his vote in the Senate impeachment trial. Trump was acquitted of two articles of impeachment brought by the House, with all 47 Senate Democrats voting to convict him, joined by Romney on the first count, which charged him with abuse of power.
“Do you think names bother me?” Manchin said in an interview on MSNBC (aka, by Trump, “MSDNC,” a play on the initials of the Democratic National Committee). “Do I look like I’m small and fragile? Names don’t bother me, and the president knows he can’t get to me that way.”
As for Trump’s insult nickname, Manchin observed, “I’m taller than him and a little bit bigger than he is, not heavier. He’s much heavier than me, but I’m a little bit taller than him, so I guess he got that a little bit off.”
Manchin’s height is listed at 6'3" on the website of the West Virginia University Mountaineers football team. He was a recruited athlete but never played as a result of an injury. Trump lists his height at 6'3" also, although that statistic has been disputed.
Although Manchin’s rejoinder was mild, it demonstrated a growing proclivity among some Democrats —notably former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg — to take on Trump on his own Twitter terms.
Four days after Wednesday’s vote in the Senate, Trump was still tweeting out his anger at the two senators, both of whom have supported him on most substantive issues. “They are really mad at Senator Joe Munchkin in West Virginia. He couldn’t understand the Transcripts. Romney could, but didn’t want to!” Trump wrote on Sunday.
On Saturday, evidently before the “Munchkin” inspiration struck, Trump wrote: “Can’t say I mind the fact that the great people of West Virginia are furious at their puppet Democrat Senator, Joe Manchin.”
In his interview, Manchin also defended his vote in favor of calling witnesses for the Senate trial, which also failed. He noted that Trump initially said he wanted witnesses but reversed himself.
“The president said he wanted a fair trial in the Senate and he would bring witnesses forward, and I know where I come from in West Virginia, if somebody accuses me of something and I know I’m innocent, I can’t wait to show that person wrong,” Manchin said. “I can’t wait to bring witnesses that will refute what was said about me or evidence that proves it also. They did none of that.”
Manchin, who in 2018 won another six-year term to represent West Virginia, was asked about the possible consequences of voting to remove a president from office whose margin of victory in his state was 42 percentage points in 2016.
“I’m not worried about the politics of it. I didn’t do it because of the politics,” Manchin said. “I’ve always said that if I can go home and explain how I voted, I’ll vote for it. If it makes no sense, I’ll vote against it.”
While Trump’s insults and nicknames may not bother Manchin, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to revel in them. Seeking to portray himself to voters as the candidate in the Democratic presidential field Trump worries about the most, Bloomberg has poured millions into an ad campaign that somewhat gleefully depicts the president as a pathological liar and a con man.
Earlier this month, Trump insulted Bloomberg over his height, claiming without evidence that the former mayor, who is reportedly 5'8" tall, had asked to stand atop a box during a Feb. 19 Democratic presidential debate in Nevada.
“Now he wants a box for the debates to stand on. OK, it’s OK, there’s nothing wrong, you can be short,” Trump told Fox News in an interview that aired on Super Bowl Sunday. “Why he should he get a box to stand on, OK? He wants a box for the debates. Why should he be entitled to that, really? Does that mean everyone else gets a box?”
In response, Bloomberg spokesperson Julie Wood said Trump “lies about everything: his fake hair, his obesity and his spray-on tan.”
“Donald Trump knows I can beat him — and the fear of that keeps him up tweeting about me late into the night,” Bloomberg said in a recent tweet of his own.
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