We told you earlier about a potential shuffle in Cabinet positions, with hints that former Texas Governor/current Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is being considered to take Homeland Security now that Kelly has been moved to Chief of Staff.
Secretary Perry has blown off the talk, for several reasons, not the least of which is that it’s still early to be stating anything as certain.
A new report from Bloomberg, however, citing several sources, is suggesting that there is already another name lined up to take over as Secretary of Energy: Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia.
Some White House and Republican officials are exploring the idea of putting West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin in charge of the Energy Department, according to four people familiar with the discussions, a move that could boost President Donald Trump’s stalled legislative agenda.
If Manchin were offered and accepted the position, that would allow West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice — a newly minted Republican — to appoint a GOP successor and bring the party a vote closer in the Senate to being able to repeal Obamacare. The idea is in the early stages of consideration, and it’s unclear whether it has support within the administration, according to the people, who described the conversations under condition of anonymity.
Reports are that Manchin was initially considered for the spot now held by Rick Perry, but that talks fell through when Trump wouldn’t assure him he could pick his own staff. Picking him now would be a game-changer though.
Democrats would obviously put huge pressure on Manchin not to allow the change of a seat from D to R in the Senate since it would dramatically alter the landscape on tight issues, like Repeal & Replace for the glaring, elephant-in-the-room example.
The Right Scoop points out the other intensely apparent fact, that West Virginia is bigly Trump territory, where he won huge in the election (every county). Manchin, Bloomberg reminds, stays alive in that environment by styling himself as different from the partisans.
Manchin has sought to position himself as a political independent. In a recent interview with the Charleston Gazette-Mail that he won’t commit to Democratic policy positions just to win re-election.
“The bottom line is, if it doesn’t help West Virginia, it doesn’t make sense to me,” Manchin told the newspaper. “Just because there’s an election doesn’t mean I sign on or don’t sign on,”
Manchin is facing a tough reelection bid in 2018. He can stay and fight, or he can jump to a Cabinet position and avoid being sent home in the midterm.
Quite the quandary.
Also, the Right Scoop had another interesting fact to chew on. Manchin’s last tweet before this post was praise for Trump.