“Old dudes eating Jell-O”: Sinema caught trashing Dems to GOP and flipping off the White House

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., has been trashing her Democratic colleagues to Republicans since becoming an independent, according to Politico

During several Republican receptions and retreats this year, Sinema publicly belittled her Democratic colleagues and praised her GOP allies, even flipping off President Joe Biden’s White House in one instance, according to the report.

In private conversations with Republican senators, Sinema has been even more critical and outspoken, especially towards Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Republican officials familiar with her comments told the outlet. 

Republican lawmakers and lobbyists seem to be thrilled by the circus Sinema is putting on and hope that she can be convinced to join the GOP in this Congress or if she is reelected as an Independent. 

The report about her conversations with the GOP — both public and private — may make it difficult for Sinema to be part of the Democratic caucus at all moving forward. 

“Those lunches were ridiculous,” Sinema said to a group of Republican lobbyists in Washington this year about the Democratic caucus’ weekly luncheons in the Capitol, an attendee told Politico.

“I’m not caucusing with the Democrats, I’m formally aligned with the Democrats for committee purposes,” Sinema said. “But apart from that I am not a part of the caucus.”

She didn’t stop there. 

“Old dudes are eating Jell-O, everyone is talking about how great they are,” she said to the group, which responded with laughter. “I don’t really need to be there for that. That’s an hour and a half twice a week that I can get back.”

With the encouragement of Republicans in the group, Sinema kept going.

“The Northerners and the Westerners put cool whip on their Jell-O,” she mocked, “and the Southerners put cottage cheese.”

The conversation then moved to a more serious direction but she continued to brag that she had better uses of her time than “those dumb lunches.”

“I spend my days doing productive work, which is why I’ve been able to lead every bipartisan vote that’s happened the last two years,” she boasted.

Her comments are evidence of what one of her Democratic colleagues, a confirmed moderate, told Politico privately earlier this year, that Sinema is “the biggest egomaniac in the Senate.”

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Earlier this year, Sinema also pleased Republican lobbyists by telling the story of how she was able to get a federal judge from Arizona easily confirmed in the divided Senate.

According to Sinema, a White House aide called her to make sure that all 50 Senate Democrats at the time would be present for the vote to confirm Roopali Desai to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. She said that there was no need to worry because the vote would be bipartisan.

She then told the crowd who the aide was, saying “that was Klain,” quickly flashing her middle finger to show what she thinks of Biden’s former White House chief of staff. 

When the laughter died down, Sinema bragged about getting 67 votes for the confirmation, and got one last insult in. 

“I did not call Ron [Klain] back,” she said.

At yet another Republican fundraiser in Washington this year, Sinema shifted her focus towards Schumer. 

During a question and answer session, a lobbyist said he was looking forward to working with Schumer to find a compromise over energy permitting. Sinema simply looked at the lobbyist and responded “Oh, good luck,” an attendee told Politico.

Sinema has also mocked Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for his naming of the climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, comparing it to “Obamacare” for the Affordable Care Act. 

A Republican donor then told Sinema that she, not Manchin, “carried the water for us in this last Congress,” to which she responded: “You’re hired.”

The donor continued to praise the Arizona lawmaker, saying “Without you our taxes would’ve gone through the roof.”

“They would have,” Sinema happily agreed. 

Sinema then complained about how people regularly compare her to Manchin. “People often assume that we’re the same person” but stated to the conservative crowd, twice, that she has “better tax policy ideas” than Manchin, who believes in taxing the wealthy.

These comments don’t come as a surprise to many given Sinema’s longstanding close ties to private equity. According to Politico, Sinema spent part of her 2020 summer recess interning at a Sonoma winery (she is going back to Sonoma in May for a $5,000 per-person “Weekend of Wine and Food,” according to an invitation obtained by the outlet). She also ensured that a tax on the carried interest on private equity earnings was kept out of the IRA legislation. One senior administration official even told the outlet that the only way to win Sinema’s vote on a crucial agency nominee is to let private equity executives weigh in with her.

Sinema also said in a smaller conference earlier this year that House liberals were “crazy people,” and claimed that “most of my colleagues just aren’t familiar” with tax policy. She questioned why other senators didn’t believe a 50-50 Senate to be a “pain in the ass” like her.

Sinema is no stranger to Republican donors: after raising large amounts of money from the finance industry in New York and corporate lobbyists in Washington, her Republican donors took her to a resort in Sea Island, Georgia, earlier this month for the American Enterprise Institute’s annual forum there.

Sinema sat with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, during the conservative think tank’s conference, and spent her time on stage praising her relationships with Collins and two other Republicans, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and former Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

Multiple attendees told Politico that Sinema’s comments were received warmly by major Republican donors in the room, who skew old, rich, white and male, don’t like Trump and wish more Democrats were like Sinema.

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