I came across the phrase “They’ve extended a finger” in the article that came under the headline “Mazie Hirono’s blunt style makes her a favorite of liberal looking for fighter” in Washington Post September 20 issue. It reads:
“Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono’s voice dripped with disgust as she evaluated how republicans have treated the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. ‘You know what? They’ve extended a finger,’ the senator from Hawaii said in an interview. ‘That how I looked it.’”
Though I think “extend a finger” is analogous to "give sb. the middle finder / flip off," I find this particular phrase neither in Oxford and Cambridge online dictionaries, nor on any google wording sources.
Google Ngram indicates that the usage of “extend a finger” started around 1810 and sustains its currency at a low 0.000000075 level up to 2000.
Is "extend a finger" as common as being used by a senator publicly? If not, why should she have deliberately rephrased it?