Following backlash over his opposition to the House-passed Build Back Better legislation, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he reached out to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) to encourage him to join the Republican Party.

The former said he texted the latter, “Joe if they don’t want you we do,” but hasn’t heard back.

“I don’t know what he will decide to do. But I do know West Virginia has gotten increasingly red. … So, yeah, we’d love to have him. That would change the majority,” Cornyn said.

With Senate split 50-50, Democrats hold the majority because Vice President Kamala Harris can break a potential tie. If Manchin leaves the Democratic Party, that would give the right a 51-49 majority and make Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) the majority leader.

Manchin has said prior that he does not intend to leave the Democratic Party, but he has told colleagues that if it was “embarrassing” for them that he’s a Democrat he would switch to Independent.

Under such a scenario, he said, he would still formally caucus with Democrats, helping them keep their slim majority.

“I would like to hope that there are still Democrats that feel like I do,” Manchin said. “I say I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate. Now if there are no Democrats like that, they’ll have to push me wherever they want to.”

The Republican Party has tried for years to recruit Manchin.

“I enjoy our conversations,” McConnell said last week. “It would not surprise you to know that I’ve suggested for years that it would be a great idea representing a deep-red state like West Virginia for him to come over to our side. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

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