Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was giving an impassioned speech against the nomination of Jeff Sessions to the Attorney General’s office when Mitch McConnell decided he had some mansplaining to do.
Warren was reading a 1986 letter from civil rights leader Coretta Scott King – who is the widow of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King – when McConnell interrupted and formally asked the President of the Senate to silence her. His objection was that she somehow “impinged the motives and conduct” of Sessions.
To make his case he invoked the arcane Rule 19, which is supposed to stop Senators from insulting each other in case fisticuffs break out. This out of date rule was put into place in 1902 after a physical altercation broke out between two Democratic Senators who were arguing over the annexation of the Philippines.
We’re not exactly sure what the over 100 year rule had to do with Warren making her case against confirming Sessions, but McConnell was ultimately successful in his attempt to cut her off. What’s really galling about his actions is that McConnell seemed so offended by hearing the words of such a revered civil rights leader. As Warren so eloquently put it, “I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the Senate.”
When Warren sat down McConnell must have been chuckling to himself about his victory over free speech and open debate. However much to his chagrin, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) used their allotted to time to read the letter in its entirety. In our opinion it was all kinds of awesome.
Here is video of Warren trying to speak and McConnell denying her the right to do so, because apparently he’s scared of a powerful woman quoting another powerful woman.