President Joe Biden brushed off left-wing activists harassing U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema — and even following the Arizona Democrat into a restroom and recording video while she entered a stall — as something that "happens to everybody."
What are the details?
At a Monday press conference, Biden was asked if the headline-grabbing Sunday restroom incident — which was preceded by activists harassing Sinema in an Arizona State University classroom — was "crossing a line."
Biden responded, "I don't think they're appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody."
After a brief chuckle, the president added that "the only people it doesn't happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around. So, it's a part of the process."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
Later White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Biden's comments regarding the Sinema restroom incident, and Psaki minimized the president's tepid reaction to the left-wing activists' behavior.
Psaki said she believes "the context of what happened here is very important" and then noted a Sinema statement in the wake of the incident backing Americans' "freedom to protest, to speak out, and to criticize."
She then said Biden "believes that. Maybe he shorthanded it, but he wanted to make that clear this morning."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
And while Psaki called the activists' confrontation of Sinema in her classroom "inappropriate and unacceptable," the press secretary didn't mention the activists subsequently following Sinema into a restroom and recording video:
What happened this weekend was that her classroom, her students, and the safe and intellectually stimulating environment she's worked to create during the years of teaching at ASU was breached. That's inappropriate and unacceptable. And I think the context of what happened here is important despite the fact that, of course, we stand for the president's stands [sic] for the fundamental right of people to protest, to object, to criticize, as they often do outside of the gates of the White House.
A reporter gave Psaki a chance to "condemn these protesters who chased [Sinema] into the restroom," but the press secretary refused to say the word "condemn" and instead continued to emphasize the activists interrupting Sinema's class.
"I think that's pretty clear that they shouldn't breach the classroom and make the students feel like their privacy, their intellectually stimulating classroom, and their time as students in college is being broached upon," Psaki replied.
'It Happens To Everybody': Biden Administration Reacts To Activists Following Sinema Into Bathroom youtu.be
What's the background?
Living United for Change in Arizona — a self-described "organization led by changemakers fighting for social, racial, and economic transformation" — uploaded video of the Sinema incident. The group said "Arizona immigrant youth" confronted Sinema at an ASU classroom over her reluctance to vote in favor Biden's Build Back Better $3.5 trillion spending bill that Democratic leadership is trying to push through Congress.
But the activists also followed Sinema into a restroom, even recording video as Sinema entered a restroom stall.
Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @LUCHA_AZ
"We need solutions, the 'Build Back Better' plan has the solutions that we need," a female said while standing in front of the stall.
A individual named "Blanca" challenged Sinema: "We knocked on doors for you to get you elected. And, just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don't support what you promised us."
She continued: "I was brought here to the United States when I was three years old. And in 2010 my grandparents both got deported because of SB1070. And I'm here because I definitely believe that we need a pathway to citizenship. My grandfather passed away two weeks ago, and I was not able to go to Mexico and visit him because there is no pathway to citizenship. And if we have opportunity to pass it right now, then we need to do it because there's millions of undocumented people just like me."