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."
\u201cWhen we dated, in 2010-11, Kyrsten was a legit progressive, far to my left. \n\nNow she has embraced the Political Industry\u2122\ufe0f where there is only process, not policy, and never people. \n\nPerfect solution: she can be the next host of @MeetThePress\u201d— Keith Olbermann (@Keith Olbermann) 1664203250
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."
\u201cYes, I briefly dated Kyrsten Sinema and we were friends for nearly 8 years and after her delusional performance yesterday, she should resign from the Senate. You cannot campaign with and for Mitch McConnell and get away with it.\n\nTUESDAY'S COUNTDOWN, HERE: https://t.co/LBlbFN2ezh\u201d— Keith Olbermann (@Keith Olbermann) 1664272801
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.
\u201cSinema speaking at the McConnell Center, was just repulsive to me! Midterms around the corner and we only need 2+ seats to make her irrelevant! \n\nYou know what to do! Show up and vote BLUE! No more blocking Biden and The People\u2019s legislation!\n\n#FreshResists\n#wtpBLUE\u201d— We HearVoicesOutThere #BetoForGovernor (@We HearVoicesOutThere #BetoForGovernor) 1664225422
\u201cKyrsten Sinema was at an event with Mitch McConnell today, talking about her \u201cfriendship\u201d with him. \n\nSinema is a traitor and is not to be trusted.\u201d— Erie Siobhan \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Erie Siobhan \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1664217302
\u201cMitch McConnell fawning all over Senator Sinema yesterday tells you all you need to know. She has completely sold out those who voted for her.\u201d— Barbara Malmet (@Barbara Malmet) 1664289900
\u201cKyrsten Sinema flying to Kentucky to troll Democrats with Mitch McConnell, and Mitch McConnell calling her the most effective first-term senator is all you need to know about Kyrsten Sinema.\u201d— Christopher Bouzy (@Christopher Bouzy) 1664278959
\u201cKyrsten Sinema\u2019s love fest with Mitch McConnell is Exhibit A for why we need to increase the Senate majority.\u201d— Tristan Snell (@Tristan Snell) 1664224443
\u201cLet\u2019s be very clear, Moscow Mitch McConnell is one of the greatest evils in US/World history and when Kyrsten Sinema went to his event to brag about her friendship with him and how she has things in common with him, she admitted she\u2019s just like him. She\u2019s disgusting.\u201d— Ricky Davila (@Ricky Davila) 1664250570
\u201cAs Kyrsten Sinema cuddles up to Mitch McConnell & spits in the face of women in America, i'm just here to remind you that John Fetterman is going to make her completely irrelevant in 42 days & will fight to protect women like Kyrsten fights to build her bank account.\u201d— Kyla in the Burgh \ud83c\udff4\u200d\u2620\ufe0f\ud83d\udd25 (@Kyla in the Burgh \ud83c\udff4\u200d\u2620\ufe0f\ud83d\udd25) 1664219213
\u201cKyrsten Sinema is currently speaking at the McConnell Center talking about how proud she is to have \u201cforged a friendship\u201d with him \u201crooted in our commonalities.\u201d\n\nIn 43 days, we can elect 2 more Democratic senators to make Sinema irrelevant & suspend the filibuster to codify Roe.\u201d— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen) 1664202463
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.