What is perhaps most notable about that interview is that she did it at all. Ms. Sinema rarely granted requests for sit-down interviews with national reporters during the rest of her 2018 campaign. Since coming to Washington, she has been one of the most elusive senators on Capitol Hill.
She doesn’t engage with Washington reporters in a serious way, doesn’t hold open-to-the-public events in Arizona and has effectively cut off communication with the local progressive groups that worked to get her elected in 2018. Her spokesman did not respond when I emailed him.
Ian Danley, the executive director of Arizona Wins, a coalition of 32 progressive advocacy organizations, said his group had registered nearly 200,000 new voters and knocked on more than two million doors in support of Ms. Sinema’s 2018 campaign. She has not once met with his group or its partners since taking office in 2019, he said.
That, Mr. Danley said, prompted the frustration that led to the viral ambushing of Ms. Sinema over the weekend in a bathroom at Arizona State University, where she teaches classes on social work and fund-raising. Activists from Living United for Change in Arizona, one of the groups in the Arizona Wins coalition, pressed Ms. Sinema to support the $3.5 trillion Democratic legislation that would expand the social safety net.
“What’s she supposed to do, she asked for a meeting — they tried to go meet with the staff and the senator, that doesn’t happen,” Mr. Danley said. “That’s a breakdown of constituent services, a breakdown of leadership — that’s not the fault of young people who are trying to lobby and influence their elected officials.”
Ms. Sinema, in a blistering statement, called the bathroom episode “not legitimate protest.”
Another activist tried without success to engage Ms. Sinema on her flight to Washington from Phoenix on Monday and there was another group waiting for her at Reagan National Airport. There, she pantomimed listening to something on her iPhone, which was odd because during the flight she had her AirPods in.
What happens next with Ms. Sinema is anyone’s guess. Unlike Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, her fellow Democratic holdout on Mr. Biden’s legislation, Ms. Sinema hasn’t publicly articulated what she wants from the negotiations, a development that got her skewered on the latest episode of “Saturday Night Live.”
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