Fox’s Bret Baier was hosting his first episode of “Fox News Sunday” since the departure of Chris Wallace and was expecting a lot of attention on the new trajectory of the show, but didn’t know what Joe Manchin was teeing up.
Only 30 minutes before Manchin’s appearance, an aide was dispatched to the White House to give Biden and congressional leaders a head’s up that he was about to put a bullet in Build Back Better.
Despite the attempts to reach out to Manchin before his Fox News appearance, Manchin refused to take any calls from the White House.
“Manchin didn’t have the courage to call the White House or Democratic leadership himself ahead of time,” a Democrat with knowledge of the situation said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki dropped this bomb: “If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.”
It was only last week that Manchin said he could support a ball park effort around $1.75 trillion, and a White House officials says that the offer was “in writing.” Aides are discussing whether to disclose the document.
“Look, with Manchin you never know,” said one senior White House official. “I’ve never seen anything like this… The guy shook hands with the president. He made us a written offer on Tuesday that had holes but was doable. If he flipped away from that so quickly, maybe he can flip back.”
As of this writing, that seems unlikely. The relationship between the White House and Manchin is deeply frayed.