Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has been harassed by progressive activists two times in the last few days, due to the Senator’s opposition to the massive $3 trillion spending legislation that progressive politicians have proposed to pass under the so-called reconciliation bill. Sinema, who defeated GOP Senator Martha McSally in 2018, along with fellow moderate Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been one of the main reasons why the colossal spending bill has not passed Congress yet, to the despair of progressives in both the House and the Senate.
Sinema, who is also a lecturer at Arizona State University (ASU), was harassed by progressive activists while she was at the University. In the video, posted by some of the hecklers, Sinema is followed by the protesters inside the university and even follows the Senator to the bathroom, where they continued to say that if the senator did not pass the massive reconciliation bill they would vote her out of office.
Leftists activists not only harassed the young Senator while she was in a bathroom in a public university, but another group also followed her in an airplane that was directed to go back to Washington D.C. The leftist protesters posted a video on Twitter, where an activist called Karina went to Sinema’s seat in the airplane and asked the lawmaker to commit to passing the reconciliation bill, which would “provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants” (something that the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled out) while Sinema was peacefully seating in the plane.
Reactions to harassment on Senator Sinema
The maverick Arizona Senator has responded to the incidents, posting a statement in her Twitter account where she condemned the harassment at ASU saying that the heckler “deceptively entered a locked, secure building” and “posted videos of my students without their permission”. Sinema said that while in Arizona “we love the Frist Amendment” the protesters’ actions were “not legitimate” and that her students were “unfairly and unlawfully victimized” due to the activists’ actions.
Some Democrats have come to the aid of Senator Sinema, with fellow Arizona Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) tweeting that Sinema “works hard on behalf of Arizonans every day” and that the protesters’ actions were “completely inappropriate”.
However, not all Democrats have been as adamant against the hecklers as Senator Kelly. President Biden, arguably the leader of the Democratic party, minimized the issue saying that while he thinks that the actions were “not appropriate” they are “part of the process” and that “they happen to everybody”. White House Press Secretary then cleared that the president believes the actions were “inappropriate and unacceptable” and the Biden might have “shorthanded” his belief that freedom of expression and protests is “fundamental to our democracy”.
Media shows double standard on progressive activists harassment on Sinema
Some outlets in both mainstream and liberal media have shown a double standard when covering the story of hecklers chasing and recording Senator Sinema while she was in the bathroom or in an airplane. Especially when compared to a similar episode that happened to Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) earlier this year, when the former GOP presidential candidate was harassed at an airport by pro-Trump protesters who called him a “traitor” for Romney’s opposition to contesting the 2020 presidential election on January 6th.
The Washington Post wrote an article describing the incident titled “Trump supporters heckle Romney, chanting ‘traitor’ on a flight to D.C.” and described the incident as “harassment” and use the term “heckled” various times in the article. Similarly, The Daily Beast covered the news as “harassment” and refer to the incident as the job of “angry MAGA supporters”.
However, both media outlets have covered the harassment of Senator Sinema in a very different way. Neither the article nor the body of the Post article uses the word harass or harassment, titling the incident as “immigration activists follow Sinema into the bathroom, demanding action on reconciliation bill”.
The Daily Beast followed a similar approach to the protest, saying that Senator Sinema’s condemnation of the incident was her “taking aim at activists” and describe the activists’ actions as them only wanting to “talk to her” over the reconciliation bill debate.
CNN commentator Ana Navarro has also shown some double standards over activists heckling politicians when they are conducting their daily routines. When Romney was harassed in January, she criticized the hecklers as not Republicans but as members of a “damn cult”, however, Navarro said that while chasing people to the bathroom was “beyond the pail” (the correct term would be pale) she asked that if Senator Sinema “spent less time in fundraisers with corporate donors” then the activists wouldn’t follow her to the bathroom.