Fresh off the midterms, President Trump is making nice with one of the Democratic senators he repeatedly hammered on the campaign trail: Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.
Trump will host Manchin at the White House at 12:30 p.m. Monday, a spokesman for the senator confirmed Saturday. During a post-election chat, the two decided to meet for lunch, and Monday is the first day since that conversation that has worked with both their schedules.
One particular issue Manchin plans to press with Trump, according to spokesman Jonathan Kott, is the fate of expiring pension benefits for miners. Lawmakers faced a Nov. 30 deadline to put together a proposed solution for the expiring benefits that affect not only miners but also retired truck drivers and supermarket clerks.
In all, the pension crisis is directly affecting benefits for more than 1 million Americans. Yet a special congressional committee tasked with drafting a solution for the expiring retirement benefits passed Friday’s deadline with no solution. Manchin, a member of that committee, has said the pension crisis threatens more than 87,000 coal miners in the country and about 27,000 in his home state.
Running for reelection in one of the most pro-Trump states in the nation, Manchin rarely criticized the president and touted his history of supporting the administration’s policies, such as its environmental initiatives and Trump’s judicial picks.
But that didn’t stop Trump from attacking Manchin on the campaign trail. For instance, Trump chastised Manchin for waiting until enough Republican senators said they would back Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh before announcing his own support.
Manchin’s challenger, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, tried to win over voters by promising he would align more often with Trump than Manchin had. But that wasn’t enough; Manchin defeated Morrisey by just over three percentage points on Nov. 6.