Ocasio-Cortez blasts Sinema over party switch: ‘People deserve more’

Bonnie Cash/Bloomberg via AP, AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) blasted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) over her decision to leave the Democratic Party on Friday, saying that “people deserve more” from her. 

Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter that Sinema did not mention any “concrete” value or policy that she believes in during her “long soliloquy” announcing her decision. 

“She lays out no goals for Arizonans, no vision, no commitments. It’s ‘no healthcare, just vibes’ for Senate,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

“People deserve more. Grateful this race & nomination has opened up,” she added. 

Sinema has been one of the most moderate members of the Democratic caucus since her term began in 2019 and has held a key role in determining which items in President Biden’s agenda could advance in the 50-50 Senate this term. 

She and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have opposed measures like abolishing the filibuster to advance voting rights legislation and the party’s multitrillion-dollar social spending package, but they were critical votes for the smaller health care, tax and climate bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Sinema told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that she has never “fit neatly” into any party’s box and does not want to. 

“Removing myself from the partisan structure — not only is it true to who I am and how I operate, I also think it’ll provide a place of belonging for many folks across the state and the country who also are tired of the partisanship,” she said. 

Sinema said in a video posted on Twitter announcing her switch that people, and specifically Arizonans, think about what is right for their community and family, not whether a proposal is a Democratic or Republican idea. 

She said registering as an Independent is a “reflection” of who she has always been and who Arizonans are. 

Ocasio-Cortez was not the only Democrat to criticize Sinema’s choice. 

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said Sinema is “putting her own interests” ahead of those of Arizona voters. 

“Whether in the Marine Corps or in Congress, I have never backed down from fighting for Arizonans. And at a time when our nation needs leadership most, Arizona deserves a voice that won’t back down in the face of struggle,” he said in a statement

Gallego had been considered a potential primary opponent to Sinema for her reelection bid in the 2024 race, where he would run to her left. He has been a top critic of Sinema over the past year. 

The Arizona Democratic Party recognized Sinema’s role in helping to advance several pieces of “historic legislation” but said she has fallen “dramatically short” in working to protect voting rights and make corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Arizona Independent kyrsten sinema Kyrsten Sinema party switch Ruben Gallego Twitter
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