When not aboard his $220,000 houseboat, Sen. Joe Manchin—who recently has been portrayed as D.C.’s cartoon villain du jour—may or may not own a Maserati Levante, which can retail for somewhere around $80,000.
The moderate West Virginia Democrat was caught in the luxury vehicle while surrounded by climate change activists Thursday morning, according to Politico. Reminder: He hails from a state where 16 percent of the population is impoverished and the average household earns far less each year than what a Maserati is worth.
Young members of the Sunrise Movement first approached Manchin at the dock where he keeps the aforementioned houseboat, all while chanting “We want to live,” according to a video posted to Twitter by the organization’s spokesperson, John Paul Mejia. They then trailed the stoic 74-year-old to a parking garage, where he boldly attempted to escape in the Maserati before activists appeared to block his exit.
A spokesperson for Manchin did not immediately return VICE News’ request for comment on whether the Maserati is indeed Manchin’s, or whether the senator is concerned about appearing out of touch during a time when so many Americans are financially suffering.
Manchin is widely capable of blowing up President Joe Biden’s entire agenda thanks to Democrats’ razor-thin Senate majority. And he’s become a target of fierce progressive outrage in recent weeks, since he’s threatened to block major climate provisions and paid family leave from realistically being a part of Biden’s signature social spending bill. For his part, he told CNN Thursday that he doesn’t exactly have it easy either.
"You want to know what's wrong with the place?” Manchin said of D.C. “I go to work in a hostile working environment every day."
One may wonder, of course: How does a senator afford a Maserati? Aren’t these politicians solely paid with my hard-earned tax dollars? Alas, as VICE News previously reported, Manchin made nearly $500,000 off of one of West Virginia’s most polluting coal plants last year, due to his shares in one of its contractors, a company called Enersystems.
Manchin is hardly the only politician to attempt to come off as a folksy everyman, only to turn around and buy the sort of stuff some Americans would probably rather sell to pay off their medical debts. Congress is essentially a club for millionaires, according to data kept by OpenSecrets, which tracks money in politics.
Plus, having lots of money is basically one of D.C.’s last remaining bipartisan pastimes: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had an estimated net worth of $115 million, based on her May 2019 financial disclosures, while Republican Sen. Rick Scott had nearly $260 million in net assets around that time, per OpenSecrets.
If you know what kind of cars they drive, let us know!
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