A few weeks before Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) began complaining about divisiveness that makes “Washington suck,” he took thousands of dollars from a Democratic congressman who has called President Donald Trump a “racist,” an “idiot,” and told him in a letter to “take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”
The $2,700 contribution from Rep. Filemon Vela’s (D., Texas) Vaquero PAC came in late December and was reported in Manchin’s most recent filing to the Federal Election Commission. Vela had already contributed $4,000 to Manchin earlier in the year directly from his campaign, bringing his total support for Manchin to $6,700.
Vela made headlines during the 2016 election when he wrote an open letter to Trump bashing the idea of a border wall. “I would like to end this letter in a more diplomatic fashion, but I think that you, of all people, understand why I cannot,” Vela wrote in June 2016. “Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”
Vela said the message was delivered on behalf of “every undocumented worker born in Mexico who is contributing to our country every day.”
Vela has emerged this year as a hardline member of the Democratic caucus who recently called it “an abomination” that some Democrats even considered having money for a border wall included in an immigration compromise.
Manchin has in the past said he would not be voting for the wall, but recently flipped on the topic.
“We have to have border security,” Manchin told CNN. “We know that. So if the president calls it a border wall, we do need a wall. We need to repair some wall. We need [to] build some new wall. We need other technologies too.”
Manchin last month complained to Democratic Party leadership that self-proclaimed moderates like him need to be embraced by the party. He has also complained about being criticized by Vice President Mike Pence for his voting record, saying his “comments are exactly why Washington sucks.”
Manchin has followed that up by labeling Congress a “hostile environment” and asking his Senate colleagues to stop campaigning against sitting members.
Manchin’s office did not return a request for comment on Vela’s prior statements.