Former Bernie Sanders campaign co-chair and perennial Democratic candidate Nina Turner bashed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as a “soulless coward” during a fiery CNN appearance on Friday—all as one of Manchin’s allies looked on.
Appearing alongside former Manchin senior advisor Jonathan Kott on CNN’s New Day, Turner weighed in on the notion that the Democrats’ voting rights legislation appears to be dead after Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) reiterated their commitment to preserving the filibuster. Their continued defense of the Senate rule came after President Joe Biden backed overhauling the filibuster to stop “obstruction” by Republicans.
“This is a sad day, a sad time for democracy,” the progressive firebrand declared. “An absolute sad day that you have senators that would rather hold on to the filibuster than to hold strong for democracy in the United States of America. Sad, indeed!”
While Kott acknowledged that the Voting Rights Act needed to be signed, he defended Sinema and Manchin’s position, claiming that they “don’t think it is good for the Senate or the country” to eliminate the filibuster to pass the legislation on a straight majority vote.
“They’re worried about what might happen when the Republicans take back the Senate, which, by the way, isn’t that far off,” he continued. “It was only two years ago they had complete control, but they are looking to preserve how the Senate works and force them to work in a bipartisan way.”
This didn’t sit well with Turner—at all.
“Preservation, my behind,” she fired back. “We need to preserve democracy now! So I got to disagree with my colleague here.”
Turner turned up the heat, adding: “They better not utter one quote from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we come up on his birthday Saturday and the national celebration on Monday. These people are cowards! They are soulless cowards to hold up a doggone rule! Filibuster is a rule. It is not written in the Constitution. It is not a right. It is a rule! And they are standing in the way of it!”
As Kott and CNN anchor Brianna Keilar looked on, Turner continued her fiery tirade, calling on Biden to go scorched earth on Manchin and Sinema in order to get them on board with a progressive agenda.
“He done wasted a whole bunch of time with these folks inviting them out to the White House and Delaware, being diplomatic,” she seethed. “He needs to hold a press conference, either you need to be by my side, you’re either going to be with me or I’m gassing up the jet on your behind, and I will be in West Virginia and Arizona and let the American people know who is standing in the way of my entire agenda, not just voting rights! So, President Biden, gas up the jet and cancel student debt!”
After taking a beat, Kott eventually responded “that’s not how Congress works” before saying that Biden “has a long history of working with senators” and “knows the best way to do it. He also noted that the president had both Sinema and Manchin over to the White House on Thursday night and will continue to “keep working” with them to pass legislation.
“Slogans and yelling isn’t the way it works. If you want to get something done, sit down with them and keep talking. And that’s what Senator Manchin is going to keep doing,” he also noted.
“Give me a break! They have been sitting down and talking,” Turner retorted, waving off Kott’s praise of the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“So, Jonathan, spare me,” she concluded. “That’s not how you’re going to get things done. Yeah, I am outraged with a whole bunch of other folks who need to be outraged about those two and what others behind them are doing. So President Biden, gas up the jet on these people!”
Keilar, meanwhile, wrapped up the “spirited” segment by saying she heard Turner’s “frustration” and it speaks to “the division” within the Democratic Party on certain issues.