As he spoke at an event Friday in Carlsbad, Calif., to highlight the Democratic Party’s accomplishments in the run-up to the halfwayBiden celebrated the passage of the Chips and Science Act by championing new energy technologies and suggested that coal-fired power plants should be a thing of the past.
“No one is building new coal-fired power plants because they can’t count on it, even though they have all the coal guaranteed for the rest of their plant’s existence. So it’s going to become a wind generation,” Biden said.
Later, he added, “We’re going to close these factories all over America and have wind and solar power.”
That prompted a rebuke from Manchin, who on Saturday called the comments “outrageous and divorced from reality.”
Manchin, who represents a coal-producing state, said “comments like these are the reason the American people are losing faith in President Biden.”
“It seems his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day,” Manchin added. “Politicizing our country’s energy policies would only raise prices and more suffering for the American people.”
In an equally divided Senate, key elements of Biden’s agenda have often passed or failed on Manchin’s bent. The senator almost single-handedly braked Biden’s Build Back Better plana $2 trillion social spending program.
Manchin said Biden owed the coal workers an apology.
“To be cavalier about the loss of coal jobs for the men and women in West Virginia and across the country who are literally putting their lives on the line to help build and power this country is offensive and disgusting” , said the senator.
Shortly after, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a conciliatory statement.
“President Biden knows that the men and women of coal country built this nation: they fueled its steel mills and factories, kept its homes, schools and offices warm,” Jean-Pierre said. “They made it the most productive and powerful nation on Earth.”
Jean-Pierre said Saturday that Biden’s words were manipulated to cause harm, noting that the president has no desire to put more Americans out of work. The unemployment rate has fallen below 4% since Biden took office, she said, while pointing out that it was 6.2% last month before the president entered the House. White.
“The president’s remarks yesterday were twisted to suggest meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone who heard these remarks was offended,” said Jean-Pierre. “The president was commenting on an economic and technological fact: as since its beginnings as an energy superpower, America is again in the midst of an energy transition.”