February 07, 2019

Manchin Includes Trump In Call With Students | WV MetroNews

COWEN, W.Va. — A group of Webster County High School students already knew they would be speaking to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Wednesday, but what they did not expect was the opportunity to hear directly from President Donald Trump.

Trump briefly joined Manchin in the call, wishing the students well with their studies.

Around 20 students and educators heard from the president and the senator.

“Normally, you don’t get to talk with the president or hear the president in such a small group setting. It’s either at a speech or rally or through news media, speeches and sound bites,” said Jonas Knotts, who teaches American government and career and technical education. “You normally don’t get to hear the president speak in such an intimate environment.”

Members of the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter organized a video call with Manchin to talk about drug addiction and issues facing teenagers as they prepare for higher education or the workforce.

According to Knotts, Manchin’s phone went off in the middle of the call. The senator apologized and asked to take the phone call, adding another lawmaker was trying to reach him.

“The screen went black where he paused the conversation,” Knotts said. “About 10 seconds or so go by, and Sen. Manchin said it wasn’t another senator calling. It was the president.

"I told him I was on a Skype session with you guys, and the president wants to talk to you guys," Knotts recalled Manchin saying.

Manchin put the phone on speaker, allowing Trump to speak to the group.

Knotts said the president only spoke for 30 seconds; one thing Knotts said Trump mentioned was his reason for calling: to thank Manchin for applauding certain portions of Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

“Our kids had either watched the live State of the Union, watched the recap or read the recap on the news. They got a smile out of that,” Knotts said.

Manchin stood up and applauded Trump during the president’s points on energy development and banning late-term abortions.

“Of course, the president wished the kids well, told them to thank their parents and tell their parents hello for him, make sure they finished their education and that he loves West Virginia,” Knotts added.

Knotts said the students enjoyed Trump’s brief appearance.

“Some are Trump supporters, some are not Trump supporters and some are in the center,” he said. “Everybody was really impressed and really excited the president of the United States took time out of his day to talk to a group of kids in Webster County, West Virginia.”

Knotts said the entire conversation between Manchin and the group lasted around 40 minutes.

By:  Alex Thomas