Progressives’ anger against Sinema, Manchin at new levels after filibuster vote
A former secretary of the US Labor Department who served in Bill Clinton’s administration has apologised after tweeted and deleting a call for senators to give Kyrsten Sinema the “back of the hand” after she voted to preserve the filibuster.
Robert Reich tweeted on Thursday that Democrats in the Senate “should have given her the backs of their hands” after remarking that GOP senators had lined up to congratulates Ms Sinema and offer handshakes after she and Sen Joe Manchin joined with Republicans to stop changes to the filibuster that would allow Democrats to pass voter rights legislation.
Mr Reich later deleted the tweet, which was preserved by a number of websites, and apologised in a statement explaining that he did not intend to use words that evoked violent imagery when speaking about Ms Sinema.
“Last night I deleted a tweet because it was widely misinterpreted and distorted by conservative media. ‘Back of the hand’ is an idiom for rebuke. I wholeheartedly condemn violence against women," il a écrit, referring to the story being picked up by a host of conservative websites including FoxNews.com.
Dictionary.com and a number of other similar catalogues of idioms define the phrase “back of one’s hand” as an expression of rejection, dismissal or contempt, and not traditionally associated with threats of violence. Merriam-Webster does not have a definition for the phrase at all.
That didn’t stop members of conservative media circles from pouncing on the tweet and demanding Mr Reich’s apology, insisting that he was urging Democrats in the Senate to slap Ms Sinema.
“Back of the hand” is an idiom to strike someone in the face with it.
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) janvier 20, 2022
Just admit it… you hate women, conservative media, and women IN conservative media.
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) janvier 20, 2022
Mr Reich is currently an author and video series host, and frequently discusses the topics of inequality and wealth concentration in America. He co-founded a digital media company in 2015.
In a recent op-ed for Le gardien, he delved deeper into criticism of both Ms Sinema and Mr Manchin over the issue of the filibuster and hammered the latter over his apparent reversal of support for filibuster reforms including support for a “talking filibuster”, which would make it more difficult for the minority party to hold up bills.
“Why did they co-sponsor voting rights legislation and then vote to kill the very same legislation? Why did Manchin vote for the “talking filibuster” in 2011 yet vote against it now?” asked Mr Reich in the op-ed.
“If you want the whole answer, you need also to look at the single biggest factor affecting almost all national politicians I’ve dealt with: ego. Manchin’s and Sinema’s are now among the biggest," il ajouta.
The battle over filibuster reform ended in the Senate last week with Mr Manchin and Ms Sinema’s defections, leaving it unclear what major legislation (si seulement) will pass the evenly-divided upper chamber before the 2022 midterm elections.