At D.C. roast, Joe Manchin jokes he may very well be the marginally youthful president America wants

Sen. Joe Manchin used a weekend Washington roast to tease a possible third-party run for the White House, joking that the nation might use somebody barely youthful than the main contenders.

Speaking Saturday evening in the course of the Gridiron Club’s winter dinner, Manchin mentioned the nation may benefit from a youthful chief than President Joe Biden or the 2024 GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump.

“With all due respect, the president is 81 years old. Donald Trump is 77,” mentioned Machin, a West Virginia Democrat who introduced final month he wouldn’t run for reelection in 2024. “I truly believe the American people are ready to pass the torch to a new generation, somebody younger. I’d say maybe someone close to 76 that doesn’t look a day over 70.”

The retiring lawmaker is 76.

Manchin beforehand indicated he might probably launch a run for the White House, saying in an NBC “Meet the Press” interview in November that he would “absolutely” think about a run for president. Some Democrats have expressed concern {that a} run by the centrist Manchin as an unbiased might reduce into Biden’s help and pave the best way for Trump successful a second time period within the White House.

The annual dinner in Washington of the Gridiron Club and Foundation, which traces its historical past to 1885, options songs and speeches from Democrats, Republicans and journalists which can be anticipated to “singe” however “not burn” the capital’s political elite.

In his remarks, Manchin additionally poked enjoyable on the notion he may very well be a spoiler if he decides to run.

“I’ve heard it all. You all heard it all,” Manchin mentioned. “Most of you probably told me. They say that my running would throw the election to Trump. Others say my running might help Biden. Hell, I’m trying to find out how it would help me.”

Manchin additionally used humor to supply a protection of the political group No Labels, a bunch with which Manchin has lengthy ties and is weighing working a third-party slate for the White House. Supporters of Manchin and one other retiring senator, Republican Mitt Romney of Utah, have launched an effort to encourage the pair to hunt the No Labels’ nomination.

“You’d think that No Labels is the cause of every problem that we have in Washington,” Manchin mentioned. “How did you end up with so many classified documents in Mar-a-Lago? It was No Labels.”

Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina supplied the Republican response on the dinner.

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