Sinema: Activists’ disruption ‘unacceptable’ and ‘not legitimate protest’

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) issued a statement criticizing activists who on Sunday followed her into a bathroom in Arizona insisting she support the Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill.  

“Yesterday’s behavior was not legitimate protest,” Sinema’s statement said. “It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to closed university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom.”

Sinema’s remarks follow an incident at Arizona State University, where the senator is a lecturer. A video of the encounter showed an activist standing outside of the bathroom stall that Sinema was in while the other stood at the entrance of the bathroom filming the encounter.

One activist can be heard saying, “Just like we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us.” Other people in the bathroom were also shown and appeared to ignore the confrontation. 

In Arizona, it is illegal to photograph or videotape someone in a bathroom where that person “has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

“The activist group that engaged in yesterday’s behavior is one that both my team and I have met with several times since I was elected to the Senate, and I will continue engaging with Arizonans with diverse viewpoints to help inform my work for Arizona,” Sinema’s statement added.

Despite this, the activist group, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), insisted that the senator had not made herself available to them. 

“Senator Sinema has ignored us and all the people who fought hardest to elect her for years,” LUCHA communications manager César Fierros said in an email to The Hill.

“She’s denied our requests, ignored our phone calls, and closed her office to her constituents. She hasn’t had a public event or town hall in years. No one wants to meet with their senator in the restroom. But it seems like there’s a price tag of several hundred thousand dollars to meet with her anywhere else,” Fierros added. 

Sinema is one of two Democratic senators opposed to the massive $3.5 trillion budget that progressive are demanding move alongside a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Last week, Sinema reportedly held a fundraiser with business groups opposed to reconciliation package being crafted by her party.

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