Following what he and other attendees hailed as a successful White House dinner focused on tax reform, Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, says President Trump is advocating for bipartisan action on his administration's push for overhauling the country's tax code.
"I think they're very aggressive on this. They want it done and they want it in a bipartisan way. I thought it was very good for them to reach out to us," said Manchin of the Tuesday evening meal on "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday.
Manchin, who told CBS that this was his first "personal sit-down dinner" at the White House hosted by any sitting president, called the discussion an "open" and "free-flowing" dialogue where senators on both sides of the aisle were able to address their concerns as well as their must-dos.
"The President was adamant that this is not a tax cut for the rich and said that's exactly what people will portray, but he said 'I can assure you that is not going to happen, I assure you it's going to be mostly for the middle class,'" said Manchin.
Manchin said he expressed to Mr. Trump that his main concerns for the administration's plan were for America to be "globally competitive" and that the tax cuts not add any additional dollars to the national debt.
"We can't add on more debt in order to get fiscally responsible," noted Manchin.
"The tax rate, it needs to be competitive. We talked about the global average, we talked about everything in-depth to where they said 'OK, let's look at this and see how we can make this work.'"
The conservative Democrat also said that aside from tax reform, infrastructure was another topic up for discussion at the table.
"Infrastructure was very much on the president's mind and his staff's, and we talked in depth about the innovation and creation of the future and what we should be and what's going on around the world. That's exciting and I think that's going to happen," said Manchin. He said he urged Mr. Trump: "Potholes don't have a Republican's or Democrat's name on it — they just need to be fixed."
Manchin says the spirit of bipartisanship that his fellow Democrats, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, also embraced at the dinner on Tuesday, is the "way we should be doing business in Washington." He praised Mr. Trump's recent deal cut with top Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for a three-month extension of the debt limit a "good" and "strategic move."
As for the meal itself, Manchin enthused that it was "perfectly prepared," with an entree of beef medallions he called "well done" and a dessert of "beautifully sculpted ice cream," a dish often favored by the president.