Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are under lots of pressure from liberal activists and their Democratic colleagues to buckle on the filibuster, McConnell told Senate Republicans on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the party meeting. That's why the GOP should keep the moderate pair close and publicly praise them, the party leader explained, because they could "save this institution."
McConnell is modelling his own advice, lauding Manchin for almost "single-handedly" preserving the Senate and expressing admiration for him back home in Kentucky. In a brief interview, the often-reticent Republican leader was, by his standards, effusive about both Democrats.
"What they've been very forthright about is protecting the institution against pressures from their own party. I know what that's like," McConnell said, referring to former President Donald Trump's demands that he kill the filibuster. "Every time I said no. And it's nice that there are Democrats left who respect the institution and don't want to destroy the very essence of the Senate."