OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Robert Reich, a former member of the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, as well as being the United States Secretary of Labor in the cabinet of former President Bill Clinton, came under fire for a tweet that may interpreted to be a call for violence against Democrat Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema.
“Tonight, Republican senators lined up to shake Kyrsten Sinema’s hand. Democratic senators should have given her the backs of their hands,” he said in a tweet he has since deleted.
According to Idiom’s The Free Dictionary there are two definitions for the term “give (someone) the back of (one’s) hand.”
The first definition, which many believed he was saying, is “to strike someone with the backside of one’s open hand.”
“Fun Fact: Robert Reich, the leftist who advocates for violence against women… is only 4’11”!” conservative talk show host Tim Young said.
Fun Fact: Robert Reich, the leftist who advocates for violence against women… is only 4'11"!
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 20, 2022
“Robert Reich is 4’11”. If he wanted to backhand Sinema, he’d need a set of doggie stairs,” CTO Noam Blum said.
Robert Reich is 4'11". If he wanted to backhand Sinema, he'd need a set of doggie stairs. pic.twitter.com/GY04IzCufX
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) January 20, 2022
“Ah Clintonista Robert Reich… Proposing violence against women who won’t stay in their place…,” another Twitter user said.
Ah Clintonista Robert Reich…
Proposing violence against women who won't stay in their place… pic.twitter.com/LFNb36PFjJ
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) January 20, 2022
“January 6th? More like January 20th when former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich called to overturn democracy by committing violence on a Democrat Woman Senator. Where were you when this happened?” another said.
January 6th? More like January 20th when former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich called to overturn democracy by committing violence on a Democrat Woman Senator. Where were you when this happened? pic.twitter.com/rcN2D4et6H
— Marcus NOT A FED Camillus 5'3" IQ 76 (@marcus_camillus) January 20, 2022
But there is another definition for giving “(someone) the back of (one’s) hand.” And it is the one Reich leaned on after deleting his tweet and blaming conservative media for misrepresenting what he said.
That definition is “to reject, snub, or rebuke someone; to display to someone a show of contempt, scorn, or rejection.”
“Last night I deleted a tweet because it was widely misinterpreted and distorted by conservative media. ‘Back of the hand’ is an idiom for rebuke. I wholeheartedly condemn violence against women,” he said.
Last night I deleted a tweet because it was widely misinterpreted and distorted by conservative media. "Back of the hand" is an idiom for rebuke. I wholeheartedly condemn violence against women.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 20, 2022
And you can guess how many people were buying it.
“Just admit it… you hate women, conservative media, and women IN conservative media,” conservative writer Beth Bauman said.
Just admit it… you hate women, conservative media, and women IN conservative media.
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) January 20, 2022
“Eh, saying ‘back of the hand’ is pretty much like saying ‘pimp hand’, and that’s considered a rebuke. No one misinterpreted the tweet. You’d have been better off just saying you didn’t know what ‘back of the hand’ meant,” another Twitter user said.
Eh, saying “back of the hand” is pretty much like saying “pimp hand”, and that’s considered a rebuke.
No one misinterpreted the tweet. You’d have been better off just saying you didn’t know what “back of the hand” meant. pic.twitter.com/5w3QPNavGD
— This Space For Rent (@corrcomm) January 20, 2022
“Don’t try to backtrack. You meant what you said. And I’m not even shocked. 99% of what you tweet is hateful, abusive, and vile. It’s who you are,” another said.
Don’t try to backtrack. You meant what you said. And I’m not even shocked. 99% of what you tweet is hateful, abusive, and vile. It’s who you are.
— Holly Thornton (@beachmamax2) January 20, 2022
“The Freedom to Vote Act looks to override a number of election rules put in place by some Republican-led states and includes language to allow for same-day voter registration and no-excuse mail voting, prevent states from requiring a photo ID to vote, allow felons to vote in all states and would require super PACs and so-called “dark money groups” to disclose all donors who contribute more than $10,000,” The New York Post reported.
“Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sinema, D-Ariz., joined all Senate Republicans in opposing the attempt to alter the Senate filibuster on party lines, resulting in a 48-52 final tally,” Fox News said. “That vote followed a failed attempt by Democrats to advance the election bills over the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. All Republicans opposed it.”
“For the last year, my Democratic colleagues have taken to the Senate floor, cable news airwaves, pages of newspapers across the country to argue that repealing the filibuster is actually restoring the Senate to the vision the Founding Fathers intended for this deliberative body. My friends, that is simply not true. It’s just not true. The United States Senate has never, in 233 years, been able to end debate on legislation with a simple majority vote,” Manchin said during a Senate speech.
And last week Sinema explained why she would not end the filibuster.
“There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy,” she said. “This week’s harried discussions about Senate rules are but a poor substitute for what I believe could have and should have been a thoughtful public debate at any time over the past year.”
“But what is the legislative filibuster, other than a tool that requires new federal policy to be broadly supported by senators, representing the broader cross-section of Americans… Demands to eliminate this threshold from whichever party holds the fleeting majority amount to a group of people separated on two sides of a canyon, shouting that solution to their colleagues,” she said.
Her reasons are valid, as policies could, and likely would switch dramatically each time a new party took the power in the Senate.
The senator confirmed that she does still support the voting bills that Democrats want to pass, but she is not willing to change the rules during the game just to get what she wants.
“While I continue to support these bills I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” she said.