Washington Post op-ed slams Manchin for comments on Ukraine’s no-fly zone: ‘He won’t feel the consequences’

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The Washington Post’s James Downie criticized Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for his recent comments about a no-fly zone over Ukraine in a Monday op-ed. 

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Manchin if he supported a no-fly zone on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” noting that it “could trigger a wider conflict.”

“I understand that,” Manchin said. “This is Putin’s war. This is not the Russian people’s war. This is Putin’s war and his quest for whatever it may be. But to take anything off the table thinking we might be able to use things because we’ve already taken it off the table is wrong. I would take nothing off the table.” 

Sen. Joe Manchin talks to reporters following the Senate Democrats' weekly policy lunch at the Capitol on Oct. 19, 2021. (Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz/File)

Sen. Joe Manchin talks to reporters following the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy lunch at the Capitol on Oct. 19, 2021. (Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz/File)

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Manchin continued to say that he would be “very clear” in signaling support for Ukrainians and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Todd and Manchin also discussed the Zoom call that some members of Congress had with Zelenskyy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a joint press conference with his counterparts from Lithuania and Poland following their talks in Kyiv on Feb. 23, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a joint press conference with his counterparts from Lithuania and Poland following their talks in Kyiv on Feb. 23, 2022.
(Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)

Downie notes that several lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, have expressed that they’re against a no-fly zone. 

“That Manchin could brush aside those consequences with just three words — ‘I understand that’ — is disappointing, but not surprising. A wealthy U.S. senator would be among the last people to feel the direct consequences of a bigger European conflict. He won’t be flying the fighter jets, or feeling the pain of spiking gas prices,” Downie wrote. 

The Washington Post columnist argued that this was part of a “common thread” with Manchin. “Since President Biden entered office, Manchin repeatedly has taken stances where the consequences fall on others’ shoulders,” he wrote. 

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Downie said that Manchin was a huge reason “the White House still struggles for legislative accomplishments as elections approach.”

Manchin has drawn the ire of members of his own party and the media in the past few months for his opposition to the sprawling Build Back Better bill. His colleague Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has also been criticized for her Build Back Better stance and opposition to eliminating the filibuster.

Sen Kyrsten Sinema listens during a news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on July 28, 2021.

Sen Kyrsten Sinema listens during a news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on July 28, 2021.
(Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The left-leaning Washington Post Editorial Board also called for Democrats to work with Manchin and Sinema on Build Back Better in a Sunday op-ed. “They have brought a lot of ridicule on their party and Mr. Biden for failing to get this done while Democrats hold a slim majority in Congress,” the editorial board wrote. 

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The board said it was time to “set the grudges aside” and work with the two moderate Democrats to get a version of the progressive package passed.

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