New Report Showcases Just How Tense Things Have Gotten Between Sinema and the Democrats
Kyrsten Sinema is at it again.
The U.S. senator from Arizona clashed bitterly with her Democratic colleagues last year over major issues, including abolishing the filibuster and approving the spending bill.
Then she rocked the political boat again in December when she announced she was leaving the party and registering as an independent.
Now, she’s been widely quoted delivering a stinging criticism to those same Democrats while being wooed by Republicans.
“As she races to stockpile campaign money and post an impressive, statement-making first-quarter fundraising number, Sinema has used a series of Republican-dominated receptions and retreats this year to belittle her Democratic colleagues, shower her GOP allies with praise and, in one case, quite literally give the middle finger to President Joe Biden’s White House,” Politico’s senior political columnist Jonathan Martin wrote Thursday.
Martin quoted Sinema’s colorful explanation as to why she quit going to the twice-weekly Democratic caucus luncheons, decrying the events as a waste of time.
“Old dudes are eating Jell-O, everyone is talking about how great they are,” Sinema reportedly told an audience of Republican lobbyists recently.
“I don’t really need to be there for that. That’s an hour and a half twice a week that I can get back.”
Building on the laughter she generated with that remark, Martin said she elaborated further:
“The Northerners and the Westerners put cool whip on their Jell-O, and the Southerners put cottage cheese,” she said, to the amused groans of her audience.
Sinema continued, “I spend my days doing productive work, which is why I’ve been able to lead every bipartisan vote that’s happened the last two years.”
Martin also described another disparaging remark — or rather, gesture — that Sinema made while telling the GOP lobbyists about a call from then-Biden White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who urged her to make sure all 50 Democrats would be present to confirm a federal judge last summer.
Sinema said she had assured Klain that would not be necessary, as the approval would be bipartisan, and “as she quickly flashed her middle finger in the air to demonstrate what she thinks of the powerful and now-departed White House chief of staff.”
Martin’s column — particularly the Jell-O anecdote — was widely quoted in the national media.
According to the Washington Examiner, “The shift in attitude has sparked hope in some Republicans that Sinema can be convinced to caucus with the GOP or at least back some of their proposed legislation in the split Senate.”
However, Fox News pointed out, that, “While Sinema made fun of the Democrats for ‘those dumb luncheons,’ the senator also has a history of ridiculing the GOP, recently calling Republicans who shouted at President Joe Biden during his State of the Union speech ‘disturbing and sad.'”
Many in the media, including Insider, said the big question at this point is what Sinema’s future plans will be.
“For now, it remains unclear whether Sinema will seek re-election,” according to the business news outlet. “Democratic Rep. Ruben Ruben Gallego is running for his party’s nomination and takes every opportunity to blast Sinema.”
Martin said that situation has left the Biden administration as well as Senate Democrats walking on eggshells around Sinema. They have been “careful not to alienate the Arizona lawmaker when they only have a single-seat majority and need her support on legislation and nominees.”
“[S]he was at the forefront of a series of bipartisan achievements in the last Congress, including on infrastructure and gun control,” he pointed out.
“Along with needing her 51st vote this year, that’s why the White House was just as restrained about Sinema leaving the party as Senate Democrats.”
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