One Democratic senator joined Republicans in a series of standing ovations during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, drawing eye rolls from others in his party.
As Donald Trump talked about infrastructure, the resurgence of coal as part of America’s energy strategy and Christian faith as the center of American life, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin bucked his party and applauded.
On at least one occasion, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer glared at him as he rose, leading Manchin to quickly take his seat again.
In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life. ‘The motto is, “In God We Trust”,’ the president said.
Manchin was the only Democrat who leapt to his feet during any of Trump’s 115 applause lines.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, stood when the rest of his party’s lawmakers sat last night during Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech
Trump delivered an 80-minute stemwinder interrupted for applause 115 times
Manchin said Wednesday morning that he supports Trump’s positions on coal, infrastructure spending and fighting opioid addiction
‘Just to sit there and frown is not going to fix anything,’ the Democrat said of his colleagues
‘There’s so much we need to do,’ he said on ‘CBS This Morning.’
‘And just to sit there and frown is not going to fix anything.’
Manchin said on ‘Fox & Friends’ that supporting the president was a matter of respect.
‘That’s the way I was raised in West Virginia,’ he said.
‘There’s some civility still yet, there should be civility in this place.’
Sitting on their hands: Democrats stayed stone-faced and largely silent Tuesday night, with the notable exception of Manchin
Not impressed: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi scowled and grimaced through Trump’s speech
Partisan applause is nothing new in State of the Unions speeches.
The events are usually one-sided affairs: Republicans generally sat on their hands through all of Barack Obama’s speeches to Joint Sessions of Congress.
But Trump had one defector on his side, even after most Democrats – those who didn’t boycott the speech – made a beeline for the exits.
‘I stood there and shook his hand and thanked him,’ Manchin said. ‘Because he talked about coal. We’re going to do coal research, research and development. Opiate addiction. I need that.’
He also cited Trump’s infrastructure development plans.
Manchin was the lone Democrat who leapt to his feet when the president talked about ‘clean coal’ technology
‘I’ve never seen a pothole that belonged to a Democrat or a Republican. We both get blamed for that one,’ he said.
Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York told a C-SPAN interviewer after Tuesday night’s speech that he was disappointed with the ‘artisan divide’ in the House chamber.
‘Time after time, standing oveations by our Republicans – and I think with the exception of Joe Manchin from West Virginia who stood with us, the rest of the Democrats sat on their hands,’ he lamented.
‘It was – I’ll just use the word disappointing.’