Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — who is also the likely Democratic nominee for the current Senate race in Arizona — believes the Trump administration made a mistake in withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal last week.
Two years ago, Sinema was one of 25 Democrats to vote against the deal. On Wednesday, she changed her stance, the website azfamily.com reported.
"Removing ourselves from the agreement without a clearly defined strategy does not make our country safer," Sinema said in a statement released Wednesday.
Sinema, 41, is running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona. She tops the list of Democratic candidates as her party tries to win a traditionally Republican seat and retake the Upper Chamber, the report states.
What's the background?
After her election to Congress in 2012, Sinema has built her image as an independent lawmaker. About 60 percent of the time, she votes with President Donald Trump, according to published reports.
But her opposition to Trump’s decision to end the nuclear deal has placed Sinema in line with Democrats such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). Both Schumer and Pelosi also criticized Trump’s move.
Sinema’s comments this week marked the first time she has publicly talked about Trump’s foreign policy decision, according to the report. Her comments were also made one day after the Republican National Committee criticized Sinema for her silence.
“Typical. Kyrsten Sinema is trying to play both sides, all to win a few votes – and at the cost of the American people and our national security interests," an RNC said in a statement released Tuesday.
How did she respond to the criticism?
Sinema responsed with a written comment Wednesday that read:
"My highest priority is the safety and security of Arizona families.
"I did not support the Iran deal when it was considered in Congress. Once it was signed, I advocated for actions that enhanced our national security: full, aggressive enforcement and reasonable improvements that strengthen the deal. Removing ourselves from the agreement without a clearly defined strategy does not make our country safer.
"We must stay focused on what is most important. Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon, and we must oppose Iranian aggression that spreads instability and violence. I will continue to work across the aisle and with our allies to achieve these goals and to strengthen our country’s safety and security.
"Our shared commitment to counter Iranian aggression and to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran must not waiver."
Sinema is vying for a Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who announced in October that he is not seeking re-election.
Sinema's strongest competition for the seat comes from three leading GOP candidates Arizona Rep. Martha McSally, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and former state Sen. Kelli Ward.