Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., inched closer Wednesday to confirming that he could run for president.
“I will do anything I can to help my country, and you’re saying, ‘Does that mean you would consider it?’ Absolutely,” Manchin said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker.
“Every American should consider it if they’re in a position to help save the country,” he added.
Manchin stated that he must first determine whether or not voters are interested in a moderate candidate like him.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure, to mobilize that moderate sensible, common sense middle,” he said.
Manchin stated that his decision to enter the White House race would be heavily influenced by his ability to “reinvigorate” the middle-of-the-road electorate.
“I’m totally, absolutely scared to death that Donald Trump would become president again,” he said. “I think we will lose democracy as we know it.”
The development follows Manchin’s announcement last week that he will not run for Senate again. This decision will make it more challenging for his party to maintain the seat in the deeply Republican state and will likely change the dynamics of the 2024 Senate control contest.
Manchin stated that he doesn’t believe there is a timeline for him to decide whether to run for president, but if he had a following, he would decide around Super Tuesday, which is set for March 5.
The senator dodged questions about whether he would only run as a third-party candidate, only saying, “The bottom line is I’m as independent as it becomes.”
Manchin seemed to reject the notion that an independent bid could hurt President Joe Biden’s re-election chances. “I’ve never been a spoiler in my life of anything, and I would never be a spoiler now,” he said.
The senator claimed that because Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris don’t appeal to centrists, he doesn’t think they are the best candidates to unseat Trump. Criticising Biden’s policies for going “too far left,” particularly in the energy sector, he also criticised the state of migrants at the border between the United States and Mexico.
Manchin praised the president’s endurance while expressing his dissatisfaction with the Biden administration.
“When I’ve met with Biden, we’ve always had a very active engagement,” Manchin said, dismissing concerns about the effects of the president’s age on his physical and mental health.
Manchin repeated that he’s worried about the prospect of another Trump presidency, especially as the former president has threatened using executive power to take revenge on his opponents and prosecutors who have investigated and charged him with crimes.