Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) was sharply criticized by Democrats on Friday for voting against a proposal to include a minimum wage hike in the latest coronavirus-related economic relief package. Sinema was one of eight Senate Democrats who opposed the effort.
In response to critics, Sinema used Democrats’ own standards against them.
What did critics say?
Sinema’s critics focused their outrage on her appearance and the manner in which she voted against the proposal.
HuffPost characterized Sinema as using “an exaggerated thumbs-down hand gesture” to display her opposition.
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Although hand gestures are commonplace on the Senate floor, particularly in the coronavirus era, Sinema’s casual body language was disappointing to some who saw the gesture as belittling the fight to end poverty wages.
Other critics focused on the name brand bag Sinema was carrying when she voted against the proposal.
“I am insane and zoomed in on another picture of her carrying and in the spirit of Edward R. Murrow-level journalism I’m humbled to announce in a parody of white feminism Krysten Sinema [sic] voted against a $15 living wage while carrying a giant Lululemon bag,” comedy writer Bess Kalb said on Twitter.
Other critics compared Sinema to Marie Antoinette for bringing chocolate cake with her into the Senate chamber.
“She’s decided she’s going to be a media darling as Marie Antoinette of the establishment. Dress in a super fun way, do performatively hip thumbs downs as she votes to kill higher wages & now rub it in with symbolic cake we can all eat instead of higher salaries,” far-left pundit Cenk Uygur said.
How did Sinema respond?
Hannah Hurley, a spokeswoman for Sinema, denounced the critics, implying they are violating Democrats’ own standards regarding comments about women.
“Commentary about a female senator’s body language, clothing, or physical demeanor does not belong in a serious media outlet,” Hurley told HuffPost.
Sinema released a statement after voting against the proposal explaining that she supports raising wages, but opposes doing so in legislation supposedly meant to address pandemic woes.
“Senators in both parties have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage and the Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process on raising the minimum wage, separate from the COVID-focused reconciliation bill,” Sinema explained.