After delivering a potentially fatal blow to President Biden's Build Back Better plan, Sen. Joe Manchin is not a popular man with his fellow Democrats—but he's gained some Republican fans. Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn told KXAN Tuesday that he had sent the West Virginia a text saying "Joe, if they don't want you, we do." Cornyn said that while he doesn't know whether Manchin will decide to join the GOP, "I do know West Virginia has gotten increasingly red ... And I think his vote on Build Back Better is reflective of what he’s hearing from his constituents in West Virginia. So yeah, we’d love to have him."
Cornyn noted that with the Senate now split 50-50, Manchin switching sides would give the GOP a majority. He said the move would be "the greatest Christmas gift I can think of." Other Republicans have also tried to get Manchin to change parties, including Sen. Mitch McConnell, who would become majority leader. McConnell said last week that he had been suggesting the move to Manchin for years, the Hill reports. This week, McConnell said he was "shocked by the vitriol" from Democrats against Manchin.
Manchin, who describes himself as "fiscally responsible and socially compassionate," has said that he doesn't plan to leave the Democratic Party—and that if he is no longer welcome in the party, he will become an independent caucusing with Democrats. President Biden, meanwhile, hasn't given up on Build Back Better, the AP reports. Biden said Tuesday that he isn't holding any grudges against the senator and he hopes to get him back to the negotiating table. "Sen. Manchin and I are going to get something done," he said. (Manchin said Monday that he decided he couldn't support the plan because he was at his "wit's end.")