Joe Manchin is reportedly furious at Ron Klain after the White House called him out for opposing Biden's spending plan

Joe Manchin is reportedly furious at Ron Klain after the White House called him out for opposing Biden's spending plan
White House chief of staff Ron Klain attends a weekly economic briefing in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Washington.Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
  • Sen. Joe Manchin is reportedly furious with the White House chief of staff Ron Klain.
  • The Washington Post reported that Manchin feels it's up to Klain to repair the rift.

Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly remains displeased with the White House's handling of his opposition to President Joe Biden's social-spending and climate plan, The Washington Post reported. Manchin blames Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, for the struggles between Washington's two Joes.

"Manchin has told allies that he believes Klain has pushed Biden to embrace a more liberal policy agenda, adding that Klain must repair the relationship with him if the chief of staff is to be involved in future negotiations," The Post wrote in an in-depth review of Klain's first year in the White House.

Manchin previously vented that he was at his "wit's end" with Biden's staff, a frustration he mentioned when he told Fox News in December that he could not support Biden's sweeping Build Back Better Plan. Steve Clemons, a close Manchin confidant, later wrote that the senator was particularly upset over a White House statement that singled him out after an earlier setback in negotiations over Biden's plan.

With Democrats clutching to razor-thin majorities, Manchin's relationship with the White House is of the utmost importance to Biden's agenda. "Given the protests that Manchin's family has experienced at his home, which is a boat in Washington Harbor — with folks harassing him, his wife and grandson by kayak around his boat and the gate to the marina — I knew this presidential statement was personalizing the game. It put his family at risk, in my view," Clemons wrote in The Hill.

The conservative West Virginia Democrat indicated earlier this month that negotiations on the centerpiece of Biden's agenda are at a standstill. That's prompted the party to begin debating anew which priorities to cut so the bill is tailored to address Manchin's demands and fiscal concerns.


Manchin told Insider last week that any future talks would be "starting from scratch," acknowledging he pulled back a $1.8 trillion offer that he made to the White House in December. The package reportedly included funding to make beefed-up Affordable Care Act subsidies permanent, universal pre-K, and clean-energy initiatives to combat the climate emergency.

Klain is a longtime Biden hand, who first worked for the president in the late 1980s when Biden was a senator. Klain, per The Post, had a role in drafting the White House's blistering statement after Manchin announced his definitive opposition to Build Back Better. A spokesperson for Manchin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other unnamed sources told The Post that Klain has rubbed other top Democrats the wrong way. Some Republicans have taken to suggesting Klain is the real president or has power akin to a prime minister.

In recent years, White House chiefs of staff typically have not lasted long. President Trump went through four either acting or permanent chiefs in his single term. President Obama churned through five in eight years.

"It is a grinding job, there's no question about it," Klain told The Post. "It takes a lot of stamina to do it. So we'll see how long it lasts."