Biden and Joe Manchin Remain 'Friends' Despite Build Back Better Fiasco: Psaki

President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) remain friends despite Manchin walking back on a potential deal regarding the president's Build Back Better legislation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Psaki's comments came during the daily White House press briefing, just one day after the Biden administration issued a blistering statement against Manchin's choice to vote against the bill, which, without explicitly stating so, alluded to Manchin as a liar.

Asked where the administration stood with regards to Manchin going forward, the press secretary reiterated that the statement issued on Sunday spoke for itself.

"The lengthy statement ... outlined pretty specifically the events of the last few weeks," Psaki said. "From the president's viewpoint, and I saw him this morning, he's worked with Senator Manchin over the course of decades. They share fundamental values, they're longtime friends, that has not changed."

"What's most on the president's mind is the risk of inaction," Psaki continued. "If we do not act to get this legislation done and the components in it, not only will costs and prices go up for the American people, we will see a trajectory of economic growth that is not where we want it to be."

Jen Psaki
White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated during Monday's briefing that President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) remained friends despite Manchin's walk-back of his support for the president's Build Back Better agenda. Here, Psaki can be seen during the briefing on Monday. Drew Angerer/Getty

Following these comments, Psaki was then asked if President Biden felt "betrayed" by his friend. The press secretary again pointed to the longstanding relationship that the president had with Manchin.

"I think our statement made pretty clear what we feel ... what was the factual depiction of events that happened," Psaki answered. "But again, the president sees Senator Manchin as somebody who is a longtime friend, somebody he has worked well together on, and our objective and focus now is moving forward."

Despite Psaki's comments, multiple outlets have reported that the White House was caught off guard by Manchin's turnaround on the Build Back Better agenda, resulting in the angry statement released by the White House on Sunday. Manchin had reportedly met with President Biden in the lead-up to the Senate's holiday adjournment and committed to supporting the bill "in good faith."

However, Manchin then walked back his commitment during an interview on Fox News, telling the outlet that he "cannot vote" for the proposed package.

"Weeks ago, Sen. Manchin committed to the president, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework that the president then subsequently announced," the White House's responding statement read.

"If [Manchin's] comments on Fox and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator's colleagues in the House and Senate," the statement continued.

Manchin represented the key vote for Democrats to get the agenda passed in a deadlocked Senate, and his refusal to back the legislation means that negotiations on Build Back Better will now spill into 2022. This is despite the urging of top Democrats in both the House and Senate that they felt a vote on the bill should occur before the end of the year.

In addition to the president, Axios reported that Manchin's decision also ground the axes of Democratic lawmakers who had made concessions on the bill in order to get a thumbs-up from the West Virginia senator.

Newsweek has reached out to the White House for comment.