Kyrsten Sinema, the independent Senator from Arizona, has been causing controversy within her own party in recent weeks, as she appears to be openly mocking Democrats while praising Republicans.
The senator is currently deciding whether to run for reelection in 2024, and her actions have many wondering which party she will align herself with in the future.
Sinema has appeared at a series of Republican receptions and retreats this year where she mocked her Democrat colleagues, praised GOP allies, and literally flipped the bird when discussing Biden’s former chief-of-staff, according to Politico.
Some Republicans have praised her for her willingness to work across the aisle, while others have accused her of simply trying to curry favor with – and funding from – conservatives.
However, she maintains she is not aligned with Democrats.
“I’m not caucusing with the Democrats, I’m formally aligned with the Democrats for committee purposes,” Sinema said at a reception according to someone who attended. “But apart from that I am not a part of the caucus.”
“Old dudes are eating Jell-O, everyone is talking about how great they are,” Sinema then reportedly said of Democrats’ weekly luncheon in the Capitol. “I don’t really need to be there for that. That’s an hour and a half twice a week that I can get back.”
“I spend my days doing productive work, which is why I’ve been able to lead every bipartisan vote that’s happened the last two years,” she said.
Republicans’ Somewhat Tepid Response
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called Sinema the “most effective first-term senator” he’s ever seen, seems somewhat skeptical she would commit to caucusing with Republicans.
But at least one senator thinks McConnel should attempt to sway her regardless.
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) said he was open to campaigning for her in Arizona should she choose to run.
“I could very easily endorse Sen. Sinema,” he said, calling her “one of the senators that is able to pull people together and actually get legislation passed.”
It remains to be seen what Sinema’s next move will be, but one thing is clear: her actions have not gone unnoticed. Democrats and Republicans alike are closely watching her every move as she decides whether to run for reelection in 2024, and her decision could have major implications for the future of the Senate and the country as a whole.