A former Clinton-era secretary of labor said on Thursday that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema should be assaulted for refusing to gut the filibuster.
Robert Reich, a far-left economist who served as labor secretary from 1993 to 1997, took to social media shortly after Ms. Sinema voted with Republicans to reject remaking the 60-vote threshold.
In a now-deleted tweet, Mr. Reich slammed Ms. Sinema, Arizona Democrat, for receiving praise from GOP lawmakers for the vote, saying Democrats should respond in a more sinister way.
“Tonight, Republican senators lined up to shake Kyrsten Sinema’s hand,” wrote Mr. Reich. “Democratic senators should have given her the backs of their hands.”
Neither Ms. Sinema nor Mr. Reich responded to requests for comment.
Ms. Sinema, alongside fellow Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, joined with Republicans on Wednesday to hand President Biden a defeat on his push to change the filibuster and pass a partisan rewrite of the nation’s voting laws.
Democrats argued that changing the filibuster was the only way to secure passage of Mr. Biden’s voting measures: The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Both bills are central to the White House’s efforts to overturn a slew of new election laws passed by GOP-led states since the 2020 election.
While voicing support for both bills, Ms. Sinema said they should not come at the expense of the filibuster.
“Eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy,” she said. “I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.”
In response to the vote, liberal activist groups have pledged to oppose Ms. Sinema’s reelection bid in 2024.
The most stringent rebukes, however, came from Democrats, like Mr. Reich.
“Let’s be clear,” wrote Mr. Reich. “By refusing to end the filibuster, Manchin and Sinema are giving Republicans the green light to cheat their way to victory in 2022, 2024, and every election thereafter.”
This is not the first time Ms. Sinema has been threatened and harassed for breaking with her party.
Last year, members of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) accosted Ms. Sinema because of her opposition to Mr. Biden’s roughly $1.75 trillion social welfare and climate package.
Video from the incident, which LUCHA posted online, showed members of the group aggressively harassing the senator while she was teaching a class at Arizona State University. At some point, members of the group followed Ms. Sinema into a campus restroom and filmed themselves berating her.
The Arizona State University campus police recommended charges against the four women involved in the incident. In Arizona, it is illegal to photograph or videotape an individual within a restroom where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Ms. Sinema said of the activists’ conduct that it was not a “legitimate” form of protest.
Mr. Biden took a more equivocal stance, saying the incident was “not appropriate,” but that “it happens to everybody” in the political process.