Kyrsten Sinema apologises to GOP colleague as Arizona woman attempts to ask her questions at airport

‘I know you’re meeting with dozens of lobbyists and talking with corporate donors about the package,’ constituent says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 26 October 2021 18:20
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Related video: Billionaire Tax Criticized As President Biden Pushes For Budget Deal

Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema apologised to her GOP colleague, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, as one of her constituents attempted to ask her questions at an airport.

It was the second time that Ms Sinema has been confronted at an airport this month.

“I’m from Tucson, Arizona, and I’m wondering, I know you’ve met with dozens of lobbyists—” the woman said during the interaction that was captured on video before being cut off by Ms Sinema.

“Please don’t touch me,” the senator told the woman.

“I did not touch you,” she responded, adding: “I know you’re meeting with dozens of lobbyists and talking with corporate donors about the package.”

Ms Sinema has held up the passage of the Democrats’ social spending reconciliation bill along with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin as they try to get Democratic leadership to reduce the total cost of the bill and make sure their priorities are included and that the items they individually oppose are removed.

“How many times will you meet with constituents?” the woman asked. “How many times have you met with constituents in negotiating bills that are like this?”

“Sorry about this,” Ms Sinema told Mr Scott referring to the constituent.

Mr Scott said the interaction was “par for the course” for senators.

“Why won’t you meet with my family who are your constituents?” the woman pressed on. “I can have them meet you next week. Every single year in Arizona, it’s getting hotter and hotter. We’re breaking records ... People are suffering. Your constituents are suffering. What are you going to do about climate change?”

As Ms Sinema got on an escalator, the woman said “next week in Glasgow could be the last chance,” referring to COP26, the climate meeting of world leaders in Scotland.

“Please answer me, senator. My family, my house,” the woman asked as Ms Sinema ignored her. “We’re from Tucson. We’re constituents.”

Ms Sinema was confronted by an activist at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport earlier this month, an encounter that was also captured on video.

The activist, Kunoor Ojha, asked Ms Sinema: “I wanted to ask if you could explain to the American people why you are planning on cutting from Joe Biden‘s Build Back Better plan.

“Do you want to cut climate priorities? Is it eldercare that you want to cut, or is it childcare?” she said.

Ms Sinema appeared to be on the phone at the time and didn’t answer the activist’s questions.

“I’m just trying to get an explanation for the American people,” Ms Ojha added.

Ms Sinema was also chased into a bathroom this month by members of Living United for Change in Arizona at a university in the state. The activists demanded that Ms Sinema vote in favour of the Build Back Better Act.

This confrontation was also caught on video, and an off-camera person can be heard telling the senator: “We knocked down doors for you to get you elected. And just how we got you elected we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us.”

Ms Sinema’s office said they wouldn’t respond to activists who behaved like that.

The Independent has reached out to the office of Ms Sinema for comment.

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