The lawmaker came under fire after she and seven of her Democratic colleagues voted with Republicans to shoot down an amendment to the recently-passed Covid-19 relief bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Sinema claimed she voted against the measure because she thought the issue should be more thoroughly debated in the Senate before being put to a vote. However, the way in which she voted down the motion – by making a rather exaggerated thumbs-down gesture – sparked accusations that she was overly enthusiastic about rejecting the proposal. A video of her vote soon spread across social media, with commentators blasting the Democrat for sabotaging the wage increase, which enjoys wide support among Americans.
Responding to the torrent of criticism, Sinema’s office suggested that the senator was being subjected to misogynistic abuse.
“Commentary about a female senator’s body language, clothing, or physical demeanor does not belong in a serious media outlet,” Hannah Hurley, a spokesperson for Sinema, told the Huffington Post.
However, the attempt to paint the issue as sexist didn’t sit well with many.
Nina Turner, a former Ohio state Democratic senator who has worked for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns, scoffed at the idea that Sinema was a victim.
“Denying women a living wage is sexist,” she wrote. Sanders had sponsored the unsuccessful amendment.
Others were similarly outraged at the attempt to play the gender card.
“Marie Antoinette playing the victim after she gave a big FU to American workers is the icing on the cake,” said one commenter, who added that Sinema’s seat should be challenged next election.
However, the controversy appeared to spark some disagreement among progressives, with some wondering whether voting against the minimum wage hike was more racist than sexist.
One commenter took issue with focusing the debate around women, noting that society “constantly obsesses” over women, even though the issue of employment is equally as vital to men.
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