WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday criticized Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia for voting guilty on two articles of impeachment, aiming to weaken the senator’s political standing in a state Trump carried by a whopping 42 percentage points in 2016.
Trump tweeted that he was “very surprised & disappointed” with Manchin’s votes. He claimed no president has done more for the state.
Trump asserted in a subsequent tweet that Manchin was “just a puppet” for the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.
“That’s all he is!” Trump tweeted.
Manchin said in announcing his decision on the impeachment vote Wednesday that the evidence presented by House managers clearly supported the charges brought against the president.
“I take no pleasure in these votes, and am saddened this is the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren,” Manchin said. “I have always wanted this president, and every president, to succeed, but I deeply love our country and must do what I think is best for the nation.”
Manchin is serving his second term as a U.S. senator, and has also served as the state’s governor. He and Trump appeared to have a warmer relationship than the president has with most Democratic lawmakers. Trump invited him to the White House in August when the president presented former basketball player Bob Cousy with the Medal of Freedom. A month later, Manchin was again at the White House when Trump presented the Medal of Freedom to another former basketball great, Jerry West.
Republicans have gained the upper hand in West Virginia in recent decades. But the moderate Manchin won a second full term to the Senate in the 2018 elections.