Joe Manchin, West Virginia senator and apparent part-time mascot for America’s well-heeled but clueless political class, was spotted driving his silver Maserati through a crowd of angry climate protestors on Thursday—another escalation in the politician’s ongoing feud with non-corporate America.
Youth climate activists from the Sunrise Movement, the grass-roots group devoted to fighting climate change, swarmed into the Washington D.C. parking garage where Manchin’s car was parked, after tailing the senator from his houseboat or yacht, whatever you wanna call it—where he stays from time to time.
Manchin, who is ostensibly a Democrat, has been in a lot of shit with the climate community lately, seeing as he is one of the biggest obstacles to the inclusion of any sort of moderately progressive environmental policy in Joe Biden’s Build Back Better—the infrastructure bill currently being negotiated by Congress.
The chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the founder of a West Virginia coal company, Manchin has reportedly sought to veto any sort of policies that would hurt the energy industry in his state and, thus, his chances of getting re-elected. For the most part, this has meant reflexively blocking the types of provisions that climate activists want to be included in the President’s agenda—including ones devoted to cutting methane and the Clean Energy Performance Program, which would attempt to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Manchin, along with denim-sporting fellow Democrat obstructionist Kirsten Sinema, have largely helped keep negotiations related to Biden’s infrastructure bill at a standstill—thus threatening democrats’ once-in-a-decade opportunity to pass significant political reforms.
Thursday’s confrontation, which was captured on TikTok and shared widely via social media, shows Manchin getting screamed at as protesters obstruct the path of his car. “PASS CLIMATE CHANGE BILLS!” bleats one angry activist, as the millionaire lays on the horn in his gas-guzzling luxury vehicle. Other protesters can be seen splayed over the car’s hood, futilely waving hand-made signs at the senator, as if to cast an incantation that will conjure up the missing moral ingredient that makes him give a shit.
Eventually, the protesters gave up on their more aspirational messaging and simply pivoted to shouting “Fuck Joe Manchin,” a sentiment they reiterated until his lustrous Italian sports car had eloped from view. You can enjoy this whole little episode too:
This isn’t the first time Manchin’s tone-deafness has reared its chuckle-inducing head. Only about a month ago, the senator was beset by a similar gaggle of environmental activists. Appropriately, he ended up making a hilarious speech about the ills of income inequality while standing aboard the deck of his yacht. Suffice it to say, lacking some sort of epiphanic Ebenezer-Scrooge-on-Christmas-morning moment, Manchin probably isn’t going to change his ways. The least he could do is hire a new PR team to make sure that activists don’t keep catching him as he gambols about in the trappings of his opulent lifestyle.
We reached out to his office for comment on this incident and will update this story if he somehow responds.