Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who only needs to pick up one seat to be in the majority, said he would love to have Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) switch political parties, adding that he would be more comfortable as a Republican.

“Obviously, we would love to have him on our team… I think he’d be more comfortable,” McConnell said to the New York Times after there have been reports of Manchin contemplating leaving the Democrat party.

The reports emerged after the administration of President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. accused the senator of disloyalty when he effectively killed the “marquee legislation” of Biden’s legislative agenda, the Build Back Better Act (BBB), after saying he could not vote for the bill.

“I’ve done everything possible. And you know my concerns I had, and I still have these concerns and where I’m at right now,” Manchin said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “If I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it. I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t.”

McConnell also said that he was “astonished” by the aggressive response from the White House towards Manchin. “Why in the world would they want to call him a liar and try to hotbox him and embarrass him,” McConnell questioned. “I think the message is, ‘We don’t want you around.’ Obviously that is up to Joe Manchin, but he is clearly not welcome on that side of the aisle.”

“If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement after his TV appearance on Sunday, indicating that the senator broke his word with Biden.

“Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word,” Psaki added.

McConnell also told the Times that the Senate Republicans had a successful year as it comes to a close, and the Democrats were unable to pass some of their larger bills that he characterized as a “socialist surge that has captured the other side.” He also acknowledged they did so without causing the government to shut down.

The minority leader also said he was grateful to Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for not allowing the Democrat to break the filibuster.

“Kyrsten Sinema has been quite unequivocal that she is not going to break the Senate and eliminate the legislative filibuster,” he said. “Thank goodness for that.”

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