Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) has been fashioning herself as a rank-and-file Republican to GOP donors and mocking President Joe Biden while defending far right members of Congress, according to an upcoming book.
In This Will Not Pass, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns describe how, at a private fundraiser with mostly Republican lobbyists, Sinema marketed herself as anti-tax and anti-government. While disparaging Biden, the Arizona senator reportedly spoke fondly of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who, like Sinema, has worked to sabotage Democrats throughout Biden’s presidency thus far.
She’s also defended extremist Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona), who reportedly helped to plan the January 6 attack on the Capitol with right-wing militia groups but has blamed the attack on anti-fascists, without evidence.
“I love Andy Biggs,” Sinema said. “I know some people think he’s crazy, but that’s just because they don’t know him.” Biggs, in return, has praised Sinema and her partner-in-obstruction Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) for their work in keeping the filibuster.
Biden aides have said that Sinema doesn’t sound like a Democrat, but more like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), according to the book.
Aides have also said that Sinema is incredibly recalcitrant when it comes to masking policies around Biden. Last spring, “she became the first-ever lawmaker to argue with White House aides when they asked her to wear a face mask in the company of the president, repeatedly asking why that was necessary when she had been vaccinated,” the authors wrote.
Sinema is the first lawmaker to oppose masking around Biden, who is in an age group that’s especially at risk for severe COVID infection. Her choice is especially notable considering how Republicans have vehemently opposed masking rules.
If what’s written in the book is true, it means that Sinema was against masking around the president even before Republicans were, despite Republican members’ willingness to rack up fines to defy House mask mandates beginning around the same time.
The reporting altogether appears to paint Sinema as an unreliable lawmaker who is ready to pick fights and throw her own party under the bus.
Sinema’s insistence on destroying the Democrats’ agenda over the past year has led people to speculate that she may switch parties, though other political observers say that she makes strategic alliances with Republicans in order to fuel her own ambitions and ego. Indeed, Sinema has raked in donations from deep-pocketed Republicans, and Manchin’s single-minded quest to destroy Democrats’ Build Back Better Act last year made them the stars of headline after headline.
Sinema has been infamous for refusing to communicate her goals with the press or even with the president, frustrating activists and progressive groups who have launched early campaigns to primary her. Polls have found that that effort may be successful: Though she isn’t up for reelection until 2024, Sinema loses handily to potential progressive challengers in polls.