Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema sent political observers on the internet into a frenzy on Tuesday when she presided over the upper house of the United States Congress wearing a casual denim vest.
The moderate Democrat who’s been frustrating progressives and even her own party leadership over her opposition to parts of Joe Biden‘s Build Back Better agenda appeared in the Senate chamber yesterday afternoon in a black t-shirt and denim combo, surrounded by fellow lawmakers in suits and ties.
Sinema is known for wearing eccentric outfits ranging from colorful wigs to a backpack and schoolgirl ensemble that she donned to dramatically vote down Senate Democrats’ $15 minimum wage hike.
A video of her during the Senate’s afternoon session was first shared on Twitter by CSPAN’s Jeremy Art at around 4 p.m. yesterday and since garnered 2.8 million views.
In it Sinema begins by addressing the Senate clerk, before signaling a thumbs-up to someone off-screen and fixing her hair while checking her phone.
Kyrsten Sinema wore a denim vest to work on Wednesday, sending the internet into a frenzy over a video of her presiding over the day’s Senate session
Twitter erupted over the video, with some mocking Sinema’s quirky ways and others taking offense to her blasé attitude in one of the nation’s oldest institutions.
‘Does she think this is a f**cking rodeo?’ one person quipped underneath the video.
Editor of the progressive-leaning AMERICAblog News John Aravosis accused Sinema of being an attention seeker and compared her to former President Donald Trump.
‘It’s about basic respect for the institution. You don’t wear a denim vest on the floor of the United States Senate. Everything about Kyrsten Sinema is about Kyrsten Sinema — look at me, look at me! She’s Donald Trump with worse hair and denim,’ Aravosis wrote on Twitter.
Entertainment figures also piled into the Arizona lawmaker as well.
‘3rd Rock From The Sun’ actress Kristen Johnston poked fun at Sinema, quoting Julia Roberts’ character in the 2003 RomCom ‘Love Actually.’
‘I’m just a girl, sitting here wearing a denim vest, betraying my party, asking you to love me,’ she wrote.
Comedy Central social creative director Tim Duffy wrote, ‘You can tell she’s taking this seriously cause she went with her un-bedazzled denim vest.’
Some people mocked Sinema’s clothing choice while others responded in outrage at her apparently flippant attitude toward one of the country’s oldest institutions
Others pointed out the double standard between the lack of conservative outrage for Sinema’s attire, compared to right-wing criticism over former President Barack Obama electing to wear a tan suit during a press conference on ISIS in 2014.
Conservative media talking heads like Sean Hannity had derided the former president and accused him of not taking his job seriously for wearing a less formal, lighter color.
‘If they can go after a tan suit, it is right and proper that we talk about Kyrsten Sinema’s denim vest,’ writer Holly Figueroa O’Reilly wrote on Twitter.
Another user quipped over the outrage, ‘The Obama tan suit brigade is back.’
Daily Beast Editor Molly Jong Fast called Sinema’s vest an ‘interesting’ choice, to which someone replied: ‘Get on her for her lack of policies or flipping ideals but to get all “high school freshmen” on her because of what she wore is so Fox news circa Obama tan suit ish.’
Some users drew comparisons between Sinema and media reaction to Obama wearing a tan suit in 2014
The former president addressed Americans about ISIS during a press conference in 2014, but his outfit choice garnered criticism from conservative media
One user pointed out that the Senate Press Gallery doesn’t allow journalists to wear denim
Another person said Biden would never be ‘caught dead’ in denim
One person whose account name is ‘JOE BIDEN IS A FASHION ICON’ tweeted a picture of the current president to compare.
‘This guy would never be caught dead wearing denim on the Senate floor. Be more like this guy,’ they said of Biden.
A different Twitter user reacted with a screencap from sitcom Seinfeld, quoting one of the main characters Elaine as saying, ‘I see you’re still sticking with the denim.’
Another person pointed out that the Senate Press Gallery’s dress code is ‘business attire’ that explicitly forbids denim, hats, overcoats, purses and bags.
Sinema has been one of two Senate Democrats who have chipped away at Joe Biden’s initial $3.5 trillion spending bill that includes sweeping social and climate change reforms.
Democratic anger is growing with Krysten Sinema, blaming her as the sole reason for holding up Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion social agenda; above Sinema being sworn into office as a senator by then Vice President Mike Pence in 2019
Sinema is known for wearing bizarre and colorful outfits to the Capitol (pictured in May 2020)
Her clothing is starkly contrasted by the suits and ties of her colleagues on both sides of the aisle (pictured September 29)
Some find joy in her attire while others criticize it as attention-seeking (pictured September 2020)
Tuesday wasn’t the first time Sinema’s Capitol outfits have gone viral on Twitter
The other is West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
With a 50-50 split in the Senate, Biden needs every member of the upper chamber to vote in favor of the plan for it to pass.
Negotiations between moderates and progressives have brought the hefty plan down to a maximum price tag of $2 trillion, though some reports have said it’s likely closer to $1.75 trillion.
After House Democrats refused to bring a smaller, bipartisan infrastructure compromise to the floor in late September over progressives’ threat to tank it if the larger bill isn’t voted on first, Sinema derided her own party in a scathing statement.
‘The failure of the U.S. House to hold a vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is inexcusable, and deeply disappointing for communities across our country,’ she had said.
‘Denying Americans millions of good-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity, and better broadband only hurts everyday families.’