Yes, Mia, there is a West Virginia.
Former Republican congresswoman and current CNN commentator Mia Love seemed extremely confused on Tuesday about what state Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) represents, repeatedly suggesting that it was Virginia.
During a CNN panel debate on Tuesday afternoon that also featured former Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Love was first asked whether she thought Manchin would leave the Democratic Party amid the fallout over his opposition to the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act.
After saying she was unsure whether he’d switch parties, Love, who represented a Congressional district in Utah for two terms, went on to suggest that Manchin’s lack of compromise is “actually making a lot of people in his state very happy with him.”
CNN anchor Jim Sciutto, meanwhile, brought up the fact that Manchin is getting pushback from some powerful groups within his state over his BBB stance—including the union representing coal miners. He then asked Kennedy whether the union asking Manchin to reconsider could make a difference in the senator’s ultimate decision on the vast social and climate spending package.
“Look, I think any constituency from within West Virginia that is going to raise their voice about this is going to matter to Senator Manchin,” Kennedy replied
“It matters an awful lot more than some interest group from across the country that you don’t represent, you weren’t elected to represent, and that doesn’t have any leverage over how you’re gonna vote,” he continued. “Your home state, your home community, your constituencies, is something very different.”
The former Massachusetts lawmaker further noted that “the coal miners in West Virginia” have a “deep legacy in that state,” wondering aloud whether that could sway Manchin’s vote because he’s “quite proud” of claiming that “he’ll always try to speak for the people of West Virginia.”
Despite Kennedy’s repeated mentions of West Virginia, Love immediately began talking about the state’s bigger and richer neighbor to the east.
“But remember, this is Virginia,” she confidently proclaimed. “Remember what happened with [Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn] Youngkin and the fact he was able to win. And the way that he was able to do that was because he was listening to his constituents. He was listening and laser-focused on what was going on in Virginia.”
“So I think this is a lesson that Virginia is not happy with the bill as it is currently,” Love concluded. “So Joe Manchin is actually doing, I think, the president a favor and himself a favor by saying, ‘I am not going to just go along to get along.’”
Rather than ask her why she brought up Virginia rather than the state Manchin actually represents, Sciutto wrapped up the segment and thanked his two guests while wishing them a Merry Christmas.
For the record, West Virginia officially split from Virginia in 1861 during the Civil War, shortly after Virginia seceded from the Union. It was then admitted to the Union in 1863.