Sen. Joe Manchin is no longer getting any love from the nation’s gun lobby.
The National Rifle Association released an attack ad this week that smacks the West Virginia Democrat with a “D” rating.
“They want to take away your Second Amendment. You see what’s going on. I don’t think you want your Second Amendment played with,” says President Trump at a rally that is played in the ad. “Joe Manchin always voted for Obama. And I like Joe, but Joe doesn’t vote for us.”
Trump then goes on to endorse the incumbent’s Republican challenger, “We must elect Patrick Morrisey, we need him.”
Morrisey, the West Virginia attorney general, is trailing Manchin by eight points according to a recent poll put out by Research America Inc. Though, that gap may be overstated as data from the same poll indicates that Morrisey’s supporters are more “engaged” in the November Midterms.
“Morrisey voters tend to be more interested and engaged in this year’s election than Manchin voters – which could impact voter turnout,” the poll states.
Manchin fell out of favor with the NRA when he teamed up with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on a universal background check bill in the wake of the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Up until that point, Manchin was an “A”-rated candidate in the eyes of the NRA.
“Joe Manchin is committed to protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms guaranteed to all Americans,” said Chris Cox, chairman of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund (PVF) in 2012.
Cox added, ”His strong dedication and voting record have earned him an ‘A’ rating from the NRA-PVF, and we proudly endorse him for re-election to the U.S. Senate.”
The Manchin-Toomey background check bill never cleared the Senate under Obama. With the election of president Trump, Manchin was actually more sanguine about its chance of being passed because, as Manchin said in 2017, unlike Obama, “There’s no one who believes he’s [Trump] going to take their guns away.”
The hope that Trump would back that bill was evident as late as this past Spring. During the post-Parkland “gun violence” talks at the White House, Trump had mentioned looking at background checks as one of the ways to address mass killings along with extraconstitutional gun seizures.
“It’s not gun control, it’s gun sense,” said Manchin on a March 4th appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “I’m very hopeful. President Trump has said background checks [are] needed. This bill of ours, the Manchin-Toomey bill, should be the base bill they work off of.”
Of course, nothing in the way of criminalizing private transfers — which is essentially what Manchin-Toomey was designed to do — came out of Congress in the months to follow.