The White House spent Saturday attempting to quell criticism from Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) in reaction to President Biden’s statements that coal’s days as America’s principal energy source were numbered. The public dispute between two prominent Democrats occurs as the President and other party leaders traverse the country to make their final pitches before Tuesday’s election.
During a speech on Friday in Carlsbad, California, to showcase the Democratic Party’s accomplishments before the midterm elections, President Biden praised the adoption of the Chips and Science Act by pushing new energy technology and argued that coal facilities should be phased out.
New coal plants are not being built because they cannot rely on it, even though they have enough coal to meet their future needs for the entire lifetime of this plant. Therefore, it will become a wind generation, added Biden. Later, he said, we will be closing down these facilities across the United States and replacing them with wind and solar.
This sparked condemnation from Manchin, who on Saturday referred to the remarks as “outrageous and divorced from reality.”
Manchin, who represents a coal-producing state, stated that comments such as these are why the American people are losing faith in President Biden. It appears that his beliefs vary depending on the audience and the current political climate, Manchin said. Politicizing our nation’s energy policies will only result in higher costs and further suffering for the American people.
In a Senate with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, important components of Biden’s agenda have either succeeded or failed based on Manchin’s vote. The senator almost single-handedly derailed Biden’s $2 trillion social spending proposal, Build Back Better.
Manchin stated that Biden owes coal workers an apology.
Machin stated that Biden’s comment was disrespectful and disgraceful. For Biden to be so casual about the loss of coal employment for all the people in West Virginia and around the country who risked their lives to help construct and power this country was disgraceful.
Shortly after, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre delivered a conciliatory statement.
President Biden is aware that both men and women of coal country gave birth to this nation: they powered its steel mills and industries and kept its homes, schools, and workplaces warm, said Jean-Pierre. They made our country one of the most productive and powerful nations on the planet.
Jean-Pierre stated on Saturday that Biden’s statements were distorted to harm, adding that the President has no intention of laying off additional Americans. Since Biden, the jobless rate has fallen below 4 percent.
She referenced Biden’s inauguration, noting that the unemployment rate was 6.2% in the month before the President’s inauguration. Jean-Pierre said the President’s statements from yesterday had been distorted to convey a connotation that was not what he meant; he regrets that anyone who heard these remarks took offense. As it has been since the nation’s first days as an energy giant, the United States is now again undergoing an energy transition.