November 5, 2022 - West Virginia's Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has torn into President Joe Biden's claim that he wants to shut down coal mines across the country to replace them with wind and solar plants.
The moderate called the remarks 'outrageous and divorced from reality' and said: 'Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden'.
The cutting statement from Manchin on Saturday suggesting Biden changes his position 'depending on the audience and politics of the day' comes just three days before the midterms, with the Democrats trying to avoid heavy losses to Republicans.
'Being cavalier about the loss of coal jobs for men and women in West Virginia and across the country who literally put their lives on the line to help and power this country is offensive and disgusting', Manchin added.
'The President owes these incredible workers an immediate and public apology and it is a time he learn a lesson that his words matter and have consequences.'
Biden's comments that sparked Manchin's furious response came on Friday during an event in Carlsbad, California, in his final bid to pull voters to the Democrats in Tuesday's election.
The White House released a statement on Saturday saying his Biden's remark had been 'twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended'. 'He regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense.' it added.
He discussed his climate policies that are part of his administration's ambitious plans to cut greenhouse emissions by 2030.
'I was in Massachusetts about a month ago on the site of the largest old coal plant in America,' Biden said.
'Guess what? It cost them too much money. They can't count. No one is building new coal plants because they can't rely on it. Even if they have all the coal guaranteed for the rest of the existence of the plant.
'So it's going to become a wind generation. And all they're doing is it's going to save them a hell of a lot of money and using the same transmission line that they transmitted the coal-fired electric on, we're going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar power, also providing tax credits to help families buy energy efficient appliances, whether it's your refrigerator or your coffee maker, for solar panels on your home, weatherize your home, things that save an average, experts say, a minimum of $500 a year for the average family.'
The Republican National Committee criticized the comments and said: 'Joe Biden celebrates coal plant workers losing their jobs'.
Biden added that it is 'cheaper to generate electricity from wind and solar than it is from coal and oil.'
'Literally cheaper,' the president said. 'Not a joke.'
A report from the Department of Energy in June found 29,271 people had lost their jobs in the fossil fuels sector in 2021.
Manchin is a coal advocate and around 11,000 residents of West Virginia work in the coal industry.
He struck a deal with Biden earlier this year to push through the Inflation Reduction Act, which was stacked with climate initiatives.
Manchin and his Democratic colleague Kyrsten Sinema are moderates in the Senate who have presented roadblocks to Biden's agenda.
On Thursday, Manchin gave his midterms pitch by imploring Congress to deal with the nation's 'crippling debt' by reforming Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and other programs he claims are 'going bankrupt.'
He told a Fortune CEO conference he would like the next Congress to work on bipartisan entitlement reform to fix the programs that are facing 'tremendous problems.'
'We cannot live with this crippling debt,' Manchin griped, per Bloomberg. 'If we can't come to grips of how we face the financial challenges this country has, then we're all going to be paying a price that we can't afford.'
Manchin's fired the shot at Biden during his final stretch midterms campaigning.
He will be stumping for candidates in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York to try and reverse the projections that show Republicans taking control of Congress.
On Friday night he said he was confident the Democrats could hold the Senate and there was a 'chance' of maintaining the House.