Joe Manchin and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "have a bitterly tense" relationship in the Senate, Politico writes, all because of their fights on behalf of WVU and Louisville when the two schools were vying for the last slot in the Big 12.
In a private confrontation on the Senate floor late last year, things got heated quickly, according to people familiar with the episode.
McConnell read aloud to Manchin a quote from a university official who said “no improper political influence” had been exerted as each senator was lobbying to get his team the plush conference spot. And McConnell demanded a public apology from Manchin for suggesting that the GOP leader may have acted in an “inappropriate or unethical” manner that could warrant a Senate investigation into his Louisville lobbying efforts.
Manchin refused to back down and said he would always stand up for West Virginia’s rights — not to mention the Mountaineer’ football team.
The two senators have barely spoken since.