The senator politely listened and held to a message they’d heard from her before. She said she understood where they were coming from, and supports the voting rights bills, but believes that a filibuster carveout would be bad for the country, and that Republicans could well use it to hold a simple-majority vote to undo whatever voting legislation Democrats passed.
What Sinema didn’t say, according to participants, was that she was planning on definitively drawing that line in the sand the following day on the Senate floor minutes before Biden’s lunch with Senate Democrats, effectively ending any chance of enacting Dems’ voting rights bills this year.
While previous meetings between Sinema and the civil rights leaders ended with mutual respect and a promise to continue talking, this time, given the senator’s remarks on Thursday, sources say the relationship has soured. The civil rights leaders are frustrated with Sinema and, in the words of one person familiar with the meeting, “pissed.”
“The timing of her speech … showed an insensitivity, at best, and contempt, at worst, of our efforts and the efforts of the president,” Sharpton told me.