On Wednesday, December 2, astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn in as Arizona's second Democratic Senator.
The swearing-in ceremony, performed by Vice President Mike Pence, also contained a little bit of shade. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona's first bisexual Senator, held the Bible for Kelly during the big moment.
Sinema's wardrobe for the much-photographed moment included a zebra-print coat and a purple wig.
VP Pence swears-in Senator-elect Mark Kelly with @kyrstensinema holding the bible: https://t.co/e1pPpLEKRq— Frank Thorp V (@Frank Thorp V) 1606935944.0
Kyrsten Sinema is honestly an icon.— Krissie (@Krissie) 1606936212.0
Many people online felt Sinema's fashion choices were directed at Pence, who has a long history of enforcing anti-LGBTQ policies.
I know we’re supposed to be talking about Mark Kelly but he didn’t show up in a purple wig today did he— Krissie (@Krissie) 1606936256.0
They look great https://t.co/GJS18tZVFS— Tim Hogan (@Tim Hogan) 1606936280.0
There are so many things about Mark Kelly's election that make me happy, but Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, in zebra print an… https://t.co/V78DTeDNrg— Grace Doyle (@Grace Doyle) 1606968981.0
Twitter loved the images from the ceremony, which quickly went viral.
Seeing Mike Pence have to swear in a Democrat senator while a bisexual woman in a purple wig and zebra print coat h… https://t.co/LQLs095H4X— Sam Stryker (@Sam Stryker) 1606937899.0
OMG @SenatorSinema's wore purple for Pence's swearing in. Love this 🌈 https://t.co/RxYGP1vW0j— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈) 1606970501.0
Krysten Sinema & Senator Mark Kelly need to be trending for obvious reasons. https://t.co/xCqLPrI4Nc— Jake Lobin (@Jake Lobin) 1606936864.0
For many, the image seemed to represent the old ways welcoming a new normal into Congress.
Mark Kelly and Krysten Sinema >>> Every other state Senate delegation— The American Centrist (@The American Centrist) 1606940186.0
Tag yourself, I’m Krysten Sinema’s purple wig as she death stares Pence https://t.co/nBxoszvVSL— ben finfrock (@ben finfrock) 1606939800.0
Krysten Sinema is an icon. Main character energy 💯 https://t.co/yoNP4if6r7— Luisa (@Luisa) 1606936303.0
With Kelly becoming a part of the Senate, Republicans' majority in the chamber shrinks to two.
The owners of those two seats will be decided in the Georgia runoff elections in January.
I bet Pence was really hoping he would never have to interact with Krysten Sinema again after he swore her in. https://t.co/JoHfihMorf— Frank Dugan 🌊🌊🌊Trump Removal Team (@Frank Dugan 🌊🌊🌊Trump Removal Team) 1606964427.0
Little pleasures. Krysten Sinema in zebra coat and purple wig swearing in Mark Kelly across from pestilence Mike P… https://t.co/Xr7728m2WH— marion ranger todd (@marion ranger todd) 1606978514.0
Perhaps it's time Congress looked a little bit more like the nation they represent.
And that most definitely means more zebra print.
Love lavender @KrystenSinema https://t.co/7e0mYD1UXG— Sandi Rodrigues (@Sandi Rodrigues) 1606955201.0
A spokesperson for Sinema told The Arizona Republic the Senator is wearing cheap colorful wigs to show solidarity with Americans practicing social distancing—especially at hair salons—during the pandemic.
Spokesperson Hannah Hurley stated:
"Kyrsten is continuing to call attention to the need for all of us to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing — which she is diligently practicing, including from her hair salon."
The wigs cover Sinema's natural color as she avoids getting her hair done. The Senator usually sports platinum blond tresses courtesy of a hair stylist.
This was doubtless one of Mike Pence's more memorable swearing-in ceremonies...though probably not for the reasons he'd like.
What will mother think?