Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s own advisers are the latest former allies to have had enough of the Arizona Democrat’s political maneuvering: On Thursday, The New York Times reported that five military veterans resigned from a board advising the senator on policy issues.
In a letter to Sinema, they confronted her with a litany of offenses—accusing her of using them as “window dressing” for her political brand, ignoring their recommendations, and going back on her campaign promises to protect voting access and reduce the price of prescription drugs.
“Are you choosing to answer to big donors rather than Arizonans?” they asked. “These are not the actions of a maverick.”
Their joint resignation letter was highlighted in a new ad from the progressive veterans’ group Common Dreams, which has already bankrolled ad campaigns targeting Sinema for her resistance to a multi-trillion dollar social spending package championed by President Joe Biden and nearly all Democratic lawmakers.
Sinema’s objections could well reduce the size of that legislation by at least $1 trillion and scuttle elements that are broadly popular in the party—like raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for investments in health care and energy. Unlike fellow objector Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sinema has largely been silent on her positions through negotiations, exasperating Democrats who need her support in order to pass the bill.
Onetime allies and friends of Sinema’s in Arizona have been flummoxed by her moves, too, and The Daily Beast has reported that she is increasingly isolated after having alienated much of her former political network. Amid her public silence, she has largely stiffed national and constituent groups hoping to engage with her on the legislation.
The veterans who served are questioning how hard they worked to help Sinema win a difficult 2018 contest, one in which she burnished her pro-military credentials in a state with over 500,000 veterans.
“Nobody knows what she is thinking because she doesn’t tell anybody anything,” Sylvia González Andersh, one of the veterans who resigned, told the Times. “It’s very sad to think that someone who you worked for that hard to get elected is not even willing to listen.”