The disturbing image of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., being followed into a bathroom Sunday as left-wing activists urged her to back a massive spending bill follows months of liberal media pressure against the politician.
Activists confronted Sinema in a classroom at Arizona State University in Phoenix and then filmed her walking into a bathroom and closing a stall as they told her she should back President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” package and legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal migrants. Sinema ignored them as they spoke – the sound of a flushing toilet at one point could be heard as they continued talking.
Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., have held out on backing a $3.5-trillion social policy bill, which is in turn holding up a separate infrastructure bill as left-wing members refuse to pass one without the other. Sinema in particular has infuriated liberals in the media over bucking the White House on this and other measures this year, with the Democrat being accused of everything from being a secret Republican to an outright “enemy” of democracy.
“The View” co-host Joy Behar raged against both senators last week, saying they were “destroying the country in my opinion.”
“Manchin and Sinema must be brought to task! They are the enemies right now of the democracy,” she said.
Liberal CNN anchor Don Lemon complained last week that they were “acting as Republicans,” MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan accused Sinema of “patronizing” progressives with her spreadsheet on the fiscal math behind Build Back Better, and MSNBC’s Joy Reid bestowed the title of “absolute worst” on the Arizona senator in August. Reid also erroneously suggested Sinema and Manchin, who aren’t up for re-election until 2024, should be abandoned by progressives in their states in 2022.
Sinema’s motivations have come under fire as well, with liberals suggesting she’s selling out to corporate and special interest donors.
Sinema’s clothing and looks have at times come under fire as well. A Slate podcast in June attacked Sinema’s “toxic White lady energy,” and her attire and showy thumbs-down for a $15-minimum wage amendment for a coronavirus stimulus in March enraged progressives; HuffPost ripped her office’s complaint that criticism of her body language was sexist.
Democratic allies in late-night television have also skewered Sinema, with “Saturday Night Live” mocking her as embracing unpopular ideas and wanting “chaos,” and NBC host Seth Meyers complaining last week she and Manchin could “detonate Joe Biden’s presidency.”
The latest debate followed a furor over their opposition to ending the Senate filibuster on measures that require 60 votes to break debate and get a vote. Sinema in particular received an intensely negative reaction to her op-ed on the importance of preserving the filibuster and not hurting future Democratic Senate minorities.
“Arizona, you up?” MSNBC’s Reid tweeted after reading the op-ed.
“This is unbelievably weak,” New York Times opinion writer Jamelle Bouie said of Sinema’s take.
Sinema’s office declined to comment to the press on the bathroom incident, according to reports, saying it wouldn’t dignify that behavior with a response.
Even after the situation unfolded, liberal media members were still expressing frustration with Sinema and what they viewed as too-positive press coverage.
Liberal MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin fumed that he didn’t care she was a “openly bisexual wine-drinking athlete,” complaining to a sympathetic Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times that she was holding out on legislation that would “help millions of Americans.”