Senator Joe Manchin is a self-described Democrat from West Virginia. He may or may not run for re-election in 2020 or for the presidency in 2024. When advocating for his state, which is strongly Republican and where President Trump won by a large margin in both 2016 and 2020, he was careful. Conversely, Manchin's ex-campaign worker, Charlie Collins, seemed to have disregarded the cautionary note. On Tuesday, Fox News reported that Collins posted a political cartoon on social media on January 17, 2020, featuring the phrase "Hang the convict," which alluded to Trump.
Joe Manchin Campaign Staffer Shared Troubling Social Media Posts Calling to 'Hang' Trump https://t.co/3GUkAwkeSK
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) April 19, 2023
This wasn’t the first time Collins used social media to denigrate the president. On April 25, 2020, he wrote, “Hey Trump supporters, have you finally realized that this idiot wants to kill us all? Between his stupid comment about the disinfectant and his media conferences where he promotes hydroxychloroquine, which doesn't work, Americans don't need much more proof that this man is a complete idiot.” He made another post about Trump on June 2, 2020, writing, “You really think this person is a religious leader? Wake up everyone!! I wouldn't want to go to church with you if you believe this fool.” He continued, “Hello, America, I’m not your president but your dictator.”
Fox News provided screenshots that indicated Collins shared several posts from Occupy Democrats, a notably anti-Trump source. One post praised Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, while another criticized the Republican Party, stating, "You sold your soul." In September 2021, Collins shared a post from Occupy Democrats that portrayed Trump and Republican lawmakers, such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and Jim Jordan of Ohio, as members of the Taliban.
The quarterly Federal Elections Commission filings of April 2023 spotlighted Collins' actions. The filings revealed that he was the only person compensated with a "salary." A representative for Manchin's campaign notified Fox News that "This individual is no longer working for the campaign." The spokesperson further mentioned that "Senator Manchin has consistently maintained that one of the fundamental values of our democracy is civil and respectful disagreement, and he will not condone any acts of violence or threats of violence."
The Democrats' chances of holding onto Manchin's West Virginia seat rest solely on whether he decides to run again. In the 2024 Senate race, the Republicans seem to have an advantage, and Manchin's seat is one to watch closely, much like the situations of Democratic senators Jon Tester in Montana and Sherrod Brown in Ohio. West Virginia awarded President Joe Biden his lowest approval rating among all states, and Trump secured victories by over 42 points in 2016 and almost 40 points in 2020. Despite the blue wave in 2018, Manchin only managed to win re-election by a margin of 3.3 percent against Republican Patrick Morrisey.