Kyrsten Sinema shows she’s one adversary Mike Pence can’t stare down

Image of the week: The U.S. veep visibly squirmed as he swore in America’s first openly bisexual senator. But he kept his sense of humour

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Sinema held a lawbook instead of a Bible as she was sworn in by Pence (Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images)

The race to replace Arizona senator Jeff Flake was one of the tightest in the United States’ recent midterm elections. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, a bisexual atheist Ironman triathlete and popular three-term congresswoman, faced Republican Martha McSally, a pro-life Air Force veteran who made history as the first woman to fly in combat in 1991. The race was so close that Arizona election officials needed almost a full extra week to count every ballot, prompting right-wing conspiracy theoriests to cry voter fraud. (President Donald Trump got wind of this, tweeting, “Just out – in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!”) Sinema ended up winning by a clear margin, becoming not just Arizona’s first female senator, but the Unites States’ first openly bisexual one. This week, Vice-President Mike Pence, a devout Christian who has long fought against LGBT-friendly laws, swore her in, her left hand placed on a law book rather than the conventionally used Christian Bible. The moment was rife with poetry and pleasantries, a remarkably civilized encounter of two warring ideologies. “It’s very humbling,” Pence quietly said to Sinema. “More than I could tell you.” Maybe he was in a good mood because of the story’s postscript: McSally wound up being appointed to fill the late John McCain’s Senate seat, becoming the second-ever female senator for Arizona, literally hours after her rival became the first.