Liberals Lash Out at Manchin For Opposing Background-Check Bill

David Hogg: 'I hope Joe Manchin enjoys his last term'

Joe Manchin / Getty Images
March 24, 2021

Gun-control advocates lambasted Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) after he said on Tuesday he would not support the gun-control bills the House passed in early March. 

Two prominent liberals slammed the West Virginia Democrat as ineffective and heartless for refusing to end the filibuster or support the two gun-control bills being considered by the Senate. March For Our Lives founder David Hogg and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow laid into Manchin and even vowed to end his political career. 

"I hope Joe Manchin enjoys his last term," Hogg, an aspiring pillow entrepreneur, tweeted on Wednesday.

It is unlikely that any Democrat other than Manchin would stand a chance in a state-wide election in West Virginia, which Donald Trump carried by around 40 percentage points in both 2016 and 2020. Manchin, who was previously the state's governor, narrowly held on to the seat for Democrats in 2018." 

Manchin told CNN he does not support the legislation to allow the FBI to further delay gun sales without providing a reason. While Manchin said he would support a bill to extend background checks to nearly all private sales, he opposed the House bill, which would require such checks for private gun transfers that do not involve money. Manchin's no-vote would deal a blow to gun-control efforts in the evenly divided Senate, enraging Maddow, Hogg, and other activists. 

"The United States Senate does not work in large part because of Democrats like Joe Manchin," Maddow said on her show Tuesday night. "He personally will stop the whole country from getting any substantive relief from this thing that plagues us still." 

"Eleven senators are more worried about their elections than the next shooting," Hogg said. "Blood is on the hands of those who love power more than our children."   

Maddow also echoed the calls of prominent Democrats who used the recent mass shooting in Colorado to advocate for the end of the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to advance legislation. She accused Manchin of being beholden to the NRA despite garnering a D rating from the group, which actively campaigned against him in his last election. 

"Even now, with the NRA almost dissolved in disgrace and in bankruptcy, instead of doing what he says he wants to do, he will do what the NRA wants instead," Maddow said. 

Manchin said he does still support expanding the background-check system—a measure that he introduced with Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) in 2013.

"The most reasonable responsible gun piece of legislation [is] called Gun Sense, which is basically saying that commercial transactions should be background-checked," Manchin told CNN. "Commercial, you don't know a person. If I know a person, no." 

While the backlash may damage Manchin's standing with gun-control advocates, attacks from Maddow and Hogg are likely to improve his standing with less-liberal voters in West Virginia.