In early October 2018, social media users shared a meme bearing a critical message about Sen. Joe Manchin, the lone Democrat who voted to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and his daughter, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch:
It’s no secret Bresch is the daughter of the U.S. senator from West Virginia, and that father and daughter were the subjects of two very different and unrelated controversies.
Bresch runs Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPen, a medical device that delivers a dose of life-saving epinephrine to people with severe allergies which can result in a deadly reaction known as anaphylaxis. In late summer 2016, Mylan was widely criticized for hiking the price of EpiPens by more than 400 percent, taking the price of the device from $100 in 2009 to roughly $600 in 2016.
Manchin, on the other hand, earned the ire of his party and other critics when he broke ranks on 6 October 2018 and voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, who had been accused by three women of sexual misconduct while he was a high school and college student, to the United States Supreme Court. One of the accusers, California college professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, testified about being assaulted as a 15-year-old, sparking an outcry and protests against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Mancin’s vote broke the tie between Republican and Democratic senators, who otherwise voted along party lines.
Amid the EpiPen controversy, Manchin voiced his support for his daughter, saying, “My daughter is my daughter with unconditional love, and she’s the most amazing person that I know. She’s so compassionate and generous in how she’s always lived her life.”
It was not the first time Bresch’s role at Mylan was used to attack her father politically — in fact, Manchin took heat over it from the other side of the aisle as he fought to keep his seat in the November 2018 midterm elections:
The RNC bashed Manchin after Mylan announced it was laying off 500 people at a plant in West Virginia. Manchin has taken heat before from his opponents over Mylan’s decision a few years ago to jack up the price of allergy drug EpiPen by 500 percent.
“Amidst the layoffs and scandals, Mylan has continued to contribute to Manchin’s war chest for his upcoming election,” an RNC bulletin said. “Mylan executives and employees contributed more than $50,000 to Manchin’s campaign in the first quarter of 2018.”
However, barring some yet-unknown potential future ruling by Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court that might benefit Mylan, it’s unclear why the meme’s makers considered the familial relationship between Manchin and Bresch relevant, other than to imply some vague nefarious characteristic they supposedly share.
Wright, David. “Manchin Defends CEO Daughter After Company Raised EpiPen Price.”
CNN. 7 September 2016.
McClausland, Phil. “Mylan Releases $300 Generic EpiPen After Price Hike Outrage.”
NBC News. 16 December 2016.
King, Robert. “Republicans Tarnish Joe Manchin with EpiPen Scandal.”
Washington Examiner. 28 April 2018.