Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) refused to sign onto a statement condemning far-left activists who chased Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) into a bathroom where they proceeded to record and berate her.
“Sanders wanted the statement to urge Sinema to drop her opposition to prescription drug reform, as well as Biden’s $3.5 trillion” social spending bill, Axios reported. “An email exchange between Senate Democratic leadership aides, obtained by Axios, reveals Sanders withheld his name from a joint statement declaring protesters who followed Sinema into a bathroom — and filmed her while using the restroom — as ‘plainly inappropriate and unacceptable.'”
Sanders’ communications director Mike Casca indicated that the senator did not approve of the statement and responded to an aide for another senator who organized the statement, writing: “Sanders will not be signing, so please cut ‘Senate Democratic Leadership Team’ from headline.”
The report said that “Sinema’s orbit” has expressed frustration that her colleagues have not stood up for her. Democrat President Joe Biden responded to the incident by saying in part that it “happens to everybody” and that it’s “part of the process.”
Numerous Republicans have come out and defended Sinema against the attack, including:
- Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), who called the incident “Unacceptable, regardless of your politics.”
- Sen. Mike Lee (UT): “Harassment is NOT part of the process.”
- Sen. Rand Paul (KY): “None of us will always agree with our elected officials. Following @SenatorSinema into a bathroom, harassing her on a plane, these things are wrong and they need to stop.”
- Sen. Tom Cotton (AR): “Harassing senators in restrooms is not ‘part of the process.’ It’s criminal thuggery that should be condemned, not excused.”
- Sen. Mitt Romney (UT): “I’ve spent countless hours working alongside Kyrsten Sinema. She is smart, hard working and principled. We don’t always see eye to eye, but I respect her. The harassment she has endured is inexcusable and disheartening. It reflects so poorly on the bullies and abusers.”
Axios’ report about Sanders’ refusal to sign a statement condemning the attack on Sinema also elicited a significant amount of backlash online, including from:
- Brian Riedl, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute: “When one of your crazy supporters opens fire on other Members of Congress and leaves a House colleague near death, perhaps its best to condemn the intimidation & harassment of other lawmakers without a ‘yes, but…'”
- Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe columnist: “In 2017 a crazed @BernieSanders supporter fired more than 50 rounds at Republican congressmen playing baseball. Six people ended up in the hospital. Yet Sanders still can’t bring himself to condemn unhinged left-wing aggression against a fellow lawmaker.”
- Casey Mattox, attorney: “Reminder that Sinema (and Manchin) continuing to caucus with Democrats is why Bernie Sanders is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee instead of the ranking member.”
- Matt Whitlock, political strategist: “When you can’t even condemn activists putting one of your colleagues in danger unless your colleague first agrees with your spending plans, you’ve lost the plot. Shame on @BernieSanders.”
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