President Biden is dismissing Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s encounter with progressive activists — who berated her and chased her into a bathroom — as “part of the process” amid the debate to pass his multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package.
Biden’s response came after he was asked Monday whether the activists crossed a line by filming the Arizona senator as she entered a bathroom stall a day earlier at the university where she lectures.
“I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics but it happens to everybody,” Biden told reporters, before letting out a laugh.
He was also asked about moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) being confronted by a group of activists on kayaks while he was on his houseboat in Washington, DC, last week.
“The only people it doesn’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around. So it’s part of the process,” Biden said.
Activists filmed Sinema while they accosted her in the restroom at ASU on Sunday, in an effort to pressure her to support the Dems’ $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” bill, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for many illegal immigrants.
President Biden said the harassment of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is “part of the process” when it comes to debates.EPA/TASOS KATOPODIS / POOL
“We knocked on doors for you to get you elected. Just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us,” one of the activists told Sinema as she closed the stall door.
They continued blasting and filming Sinema as she washed her hands.
A protester confronted and accosted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at ASU where she teaches.Twitter
The senator had earlier criticized Democratic Party leadership for the House’s “inexcusable” failure to hold a vote on a $1 trillion bipartisan public works bill on Friday in order to gain additional time to negotiate Biden’s $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” spending bill.
In a statement Monday, Sinema slammed the activists and called their actions “unacceptable behavior.”
“Yesterday, several individuals disrupted my class at Arizona State University. After deceptively entering a locked, secure building, these individuals filmed and publicly posted videos of my students without their permission — including footage taken of both my students and I using a restroom,” Sinema said in the statement posted on Twitter.
“In Arizona, we love the First Amendment. We know it is vital to our democracy that constituents can freely petition, protest, or criticize my policy positions and decisions.”
The senator went on to say she had met with the group “several times” since being elected, adding that the incident was “not legitimate protest.”
The senator had said she had met with the group several times before being accosted. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
“Yesterday’s behavior was not legitimate protest. It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to closed university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom,” Sinema said.
“It is the duty of elected leaders to avoid fostering an environment in which honestly-held policy disagreements serve as the basis for vitriol — raising the temperature in political rhetoric and creating a permission structure for unacceptable behavior.”
Sinema and Manchin have repeatedly vowed not to vote for a $3.5 trillion price tag for the “human infrastructure” bill, while the far left has promised to block the bipartisan bill until the former is passed.
President Biden’s response came after he was asked Monday whether the activists crossed a line by filming the Arizona senator as she entered a bathroom stall.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Just hours after standing firm on a topline of $1.5 trillion for the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Manchin was set upon by protesters who kayaked up to his houseboat last Thursday.
The left-wing activists held signs that read “Don’t sink our health care” and “No climate no deal.”