Political commentator Keith Olbermann revealed he used to date Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema. He is now demanding she resign from Congress after she praised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who has been clear about his mission to oppose and obstruct any potential Democratic accomplishments.
Olbermann's reveal came after Sinema praised McConnell during an appearance at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, saying that she has forged a friendship with him "rooted in our commonalities," their "pragmatic approach to legislating," and their "respect for the Senate as an institution."
Sinema's remarks were soon savaged by left-wing news outlets, which pointed out that she initially embarked on a career defined by progressive advocacy.
Among her most prominent critics is Olbermann, who noted when the two of them dated more than a decade ago, she "was a legit progressive, far to my left."
"Now she has embraced the Political Industry where this only process, not policy, and never people."
Olbermann later followed up with another tweet, noting that he and Sinema were friends for eight years after they initially dated. He further criticized "her performance yesterday,"
Sinema "should resign from the Senate," Olbermann added, saying that she "cannot campaign with and for Mitch McConnell and get away with it."
Sinema's appearance with McConnell prompted CNN's Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza to declare her Mitch McConnell's "favorite Democrat," particularly after she called for the restoration of the 60-vote filibuster threshold on executive branch and judicial nominees.
Sinema acknowledged that her opinion is an unpopular one “because it would make it harder for us to confirm judges and it would make it harder for us to confirm executive appointments in each administration."
Nonetheless, she said that restoring it "would see more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance," conveniently ignoring the fact that McConnell and former Republican President Donald Trump installed three conservative Supreme Court Justices in its absence.
McConnell, for his part, praised Sinema as "the most effective first-term senator I've seen," calling her a "genuine moderate and a dealmaker." McConnell also lauded her for supporting a restoration of the 60-vote filibuster threshold, saying that she "protects the institution of the Senate."
Many have echoed Olbermann's criticisms and vowed to vote in this year's midterm elections to increase the Democratic majority, which would end her ability to block legislation.
Sinema began her political career in the Arizona Green Party and rose to prominence for her progressive advocacy, supporting causes such as LGBTQ+ rights and opposing the war on terror. She left the Green Party to join the Arizona Democratic Party in 2004 and was elected to a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2012.
After her election, she joined the New Democrat Coalition, the Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, amassing one of the most conservative voting records in the Democratic caucus.
When Sinema won the 2018 Arizona Senate election, her victory was well-regarded, perceived as a win for progressives and for the LGBTQ+ community, who acknowledged that she is the first openly bisexual and the second openly LGBTQ+ woman (after Tammy Baldwin) to be elected to both chambers of Congress.
Opinions on Sinema have soured however as she continues to face accusations of obstructing Democratic President Joe Biden and the Democrat-controlled Senate from enacting legislative accomplishments.
Last year, President Biden was forced to meet several times with Sinema and West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin—a moderate who faces similar criticism—after they balked at the size of a major spending bill designed to respond to the climate crisis, invest in infrastructure, and expand education, healthcare and childcare.
Sinema was also publicly criticized by CNN commentator Don Lemon, who ripped her for commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day despite undermining Democrats' attempts to pass voting rights reform.