Manchin fires back after Pence attack: 'This is why Washington sucks'

The vice president attacked Manchin during a stop in West Virginia.

But by Wednesday afternoon, a war of the words had erupted after the White House seemed to turn on Manchin, criticizing the senator in a fiery speech by vice president Mike Pence. Manchin faces re-election this year.

"I looked [Manchin] in the eye and I told him, Joe, the people of the mountain state are counting on you," Pence said in a speech touting tax reform in White Sulphur Springs, W.V. "And I said, let’s get this tax cut done together. But Joe voted no. Joe voted no to give working families more of your hard-earned money."

Pence's remarks signal that in the upcoming West Virginia Senate race, the White House won't hold back on attacking Manchin despite his frequent support.

"I am shocked that after the vice president worked for almost a year in a divisive and partisan way to take healthcare away from almost 200,000 West Virginians, bankrupt our hospitals, and push tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and huge corporations that he would come to West Virginia and continue his partisan attacks," Manchin said in a statement.

Manchin, a centrist Democrat from a state that voted for Trump by 42 points, has earned a reputation of working across the aisle and being a Democratic ally with the White House. During the government shut down, it was Manchin, along with new Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. who was invited to travel down Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with Trump and find common ground on issues tripping up a potential bipartisan deal.

Trump has criticized Manchin before. In an interview with the New York Times last December, Trump said he hears "bull----" from Democrats "like Joe Manchin."

"Joe’s a nice guy," said Trump. "But he talks. But he doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t do. 'Hey, let’s get together, let’s do bipartisan.' I say, 'Good, let’s go.' Then you don’t hear from him again."