“It doesn’t matter if I’m a Democrat, and they’re a Republican, or vice versa,” he said in a rare joint interview with Murkowski on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“It’s hypocritical to basically work with a person day in and day out, and then when they’re in cycle you’re supposed to be against them just because they have an R or D by their name,” he said. “If these are good people I’ve worked with, we have accomplished a lot, why in the world wouldn’t I want to work with them and continue to work with them?”
Murkowski, who is currently not facing a Democratic challenger, has been at odds with members of her own party. She is a longtime critic of former President Donald Trump and was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict him at his second impeachment trial in 2021. On Friday, she condemned the Republican National Committee’s censure of two fellow GOP senators for participating in a House investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
“I’m not here to be the representative of the Republican Party. I’m here to be the representative for Alaskan people. And I take that charge very, very seriously,” Murkowski said Sunday when asked about how uncomfortable it can be to not follow party lines.
Manchin, who has faced similar conflict with members of his own party, similarly said he puts his state’s constituents before those in Washington.
“I’m not a Washington Democrat, I’m a good old West Virginia Democrat, who likes all my West Virginia Republicans, and I know that I have to have their input for us to get good outcomes for our West Virginia citizens we represent,” he said.
Murkowski said she would endorse Manchin if he decides to run for reelection in 2024. Though he has yet to announce a decision, Democrats have already suggested he could lose party endorsements over his refusal to endorse President Joe Biden’s climate and social spending bill last year.