Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema stood out among her Democratic colleagues as she gave President Donald Trump a standing ovation while he talked about “opportunity zones” during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris sat silently next to the Arizona Democrat as Sinema applauded Trump’s praise of Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s leadership creating the program in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema gives a standing ovation after Trump commends GOP Sen. Tim Scott for work on opportunity zones. pic.twitter.com/CPjxbgfIIG
— Axios (@axios) February 5, 2020
The opportunity zone program was created to “stimulate economic development and job creation, by incentivizing long-term investments in low-income neighborhoods,” according to the Economic Development Administration.
Democrats have been critical of the program, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib has even introduced a bill to repeal it.
“Opportunity zones are just another corporate handout that don’t actually help the communities that desperately need resources,” the Michigan Democrat tweeted.
Many people praised Sinema for standing with her Republican colleagues and applauding the success of this program:
It was nice to see @kyrstensinema stand and applaud for one of her black Republican colleagues
She looked genuinely happy to do it and not like she was doing it for political reasons
Was very encouraging to see, well done https://t.co/M6OGghETvr
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 5, 2020
Gotta give credit to the one Democrat who behaved like she loves this country, @kyrstensinema. I hope that Kyrsten considers leaving the Democrats after tonight’s shameful #SOTU behavior by the rest of her party. pic.twitter.com/zdW6jgWZxe
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) February 5, 2020
Kyrsten Sinema proudly standing with Republicans for opportunity zones… as everyone should. Why wouldnt we all stand up for the success of our fellow Americans? #SOTU
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) February 5, 2020
Sinema also stood out by wearing a blue dress in the sea of white worn by dozens of Democratic women in support of the women’s suffrage movement, the Arizona Republic reported.
Despite the praise on Twitter, Sinema could face retribution from the Democratic Party.
In September, the centrist senator faced a possible censure from the Arizona Democratic Party for “failing to support the tenets of the 2016 Democratic Party Platform,” the Washington Examiner reported at the time.
This possible censure came after Sinema voted to confirm Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
The state coordinator for the Progressive Democrats of America told the Republic that “the way she is voting is really disappointing. We want Democrats to vote like Democrats and not Republicans.”
Although Sinema did not formally comment on the possible censure, which was pushed back until it could be picked up again in 2020, she has previously talked about her efforts to work across the aisle.
“As everyone knows, I am 100% focused on the needs of everyday Arizonans, and I refuse to be distracted by the pettiness and the partisanship that has invaded Washington,” she said during an interview with the Republic in July.
“I promised Arizonans that I would never be a part of that typical Washington chaos and drama and I’m going to continue to stay focused, just like a laser, on the stuff that actually matters to the people in their everyday lives.”
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