Democratic Senators on Wednesday picked up where Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was forced to leave off Tuesday night, reading the letter that Coretta Scott King wrote about Sen. Jeff Sessions in 1986.
“This is the United States Senate, and the American people expect from us a vigorous debate on the important issues facing this country,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, before quoting King’s letter.
Senate Republicans silenced Warren on Tuesday night, arguing that she violated a rule against insulting fellow Senators when she quoted King during the debate over Sessions’ nomination as U.S. Attorney General. Warren is now prohibited from speaking again about Sessions’ confirmation.
Sanders called the action “incomprehensible.”
“Anyone who knows anything about Coretta Scott King understands this is not a vicious woman. This is not a woman who was engaged in personal attacks. This is a woman who stood up and fought for civil rights, for dignity, for justice for her whole life,” Sanders said, calling Warren’s exclusion an “outrage.”
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall also read King’s letter on the Senate floor Wednesday.
“It’s a sad day for our democracy, Mr. President, when the words of Coretta Scott King are not allowed on the floor of the United States Senate,” Brown said. “I’d like to share those words with you today in their entirety.”
Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also voiced her support for Warren, repeating the words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in what has become a rallying cry for Warren’s supporters.
“‘She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,'” Clinton said in a tweet, quoting McConnell before adding her own words: “So must we all.”