Sen. Joe Manchin says Trump ‘called me all the time

ASHINGTON – When Sen. Joe Manchin learned a throng of pro-Trump protestors was threatening to disrupt Congress’ count of the Electoral College votes in the Capitol on Jan. 6, the 73-year-old, 6-foot-3 former football standout said he was not ready to back down.

“My intention was to stay and fight: ‘Let ‘em in. Let’s go at it.’ But I didn’t know what was going on,” the West Virginia Democrat told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview. “You had a lot of people chanting. I didn’t think anything of that. But within 10 or 15 minutes, a SWAT team comes in with all of their gear and says ‘You guys are out of here. Just go now. Don’t even stop.”

Manchin was a rare Democrat who had a friendly relationship with former President Donald Trump, At one point, there were reports the president wanted to name him as his energy secretary (which would have given West Virginia’s Republican governor a chance to fill Manchin’s Senate seat), but the senator withdrew his name from consideration.

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