Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have silenced Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor, but in doing so he provoked an even louder argument online.
When the Massachusetts Democrat attempted to read a letter from Coretta Scott King about attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, McConnell cited a Senate rule which bars Senators from impugning the motives of one of their colleagues.
Soon, people were tweeting the hashtags #LetLizSpeak and #ShePersists in support of Warren.
“Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge,” Warren read from Scott King’s letter. Dr. Martin Luther King’s widow submitted the letter three decades ago in a successful bid to prevent Sessions — who has been accused of racism throughout his career — from becoming a federal judge in 1986.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then silenced Warren citing Rule XIX, which says: “No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
Warren replied that she was “surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate” and asked to continue. McConnell objected, and Senator Steve Daines of Montana heard the objection, then asked her to take her seat, according to the New York Times. In a 49-43 vote along party lines, the Senate upheld Daines’ decision, meaning Warren can’t argue against Sessions for the duration of his nomination proceedings.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation,” McConnell said. “Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Following the incident, Warren took to Facebook Live to continue reading Scott King’s letter.
On Twitter, #ShePersists and #LetLizSpeak started to trend, as well as the phrase “Silencing Elizabeth Warren.”
“They can shut me up, but they can’t change the truth,” Warren told CNN’s Don Lemon.
[H/T The Huffington Post]