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GOP elevates Warren’s standing by ordering her silenced

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. reacted to being rebuked by the Senate leadership and accused of impugning a fellow senator, Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., today, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this image from Senate Television, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks on the floor of the U.S. Senate in Washington, Monday, about the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Education Secretary.

WASHINGTON >> The turbulent national debate over race, gender and free speech consumed the normally staid Senate today after the GOP majority voted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren, abruptly elevating her celebrity status at a moment when liberals are hungry for a leader to take on Donald Trump.

The highly unusual rebuke of the Massachusetts Democrat came as the Senate weighed President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who seemed headed toward a nearly party-line confirmation this evening. It also gave frustrated Democrats a rallying cry weeks into a presidency that is dividing the country like few before.

“I certainly hope that this anti-free-speech attitude is not traveling down Pennsylvania Avenue to our great chamber,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned darkly as Democrats jumped at an opening to link the GOP’s conduct to that of Trump himself. “This is not what America is about — silencing speech, especially in this chamber.”

Republicans argued they were just trying to enforce necessary rules of decorum in a Senate that is the last bulwark of civil debate in an angry nation.

“I hope that maybe we’ve all been chastened a little bit,” chided the No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas. “We’re at a pretty challenging time in our nation’s history when many people who were surprised and disappointed at the last election are unwilling to accept the results. … I only hope that after the passage of some time they will return to their senses.”

But the debate immediately took on overtones of race and gender. Warren was rebuked as she was reading a letter by Martin Luther King Jr’s widow, Coretta Scott King, opposing Sessions’ ultimately unsuccessful nomination to a federal judgeship in 1986. Subsequently, several male senators stood up and read from the same letter but without drawing objections, leading Democratic activists to proclaim that Senate Republicans were interested only in silencing a woman.

The moment inspired a Twitter hashtag, #LetLizSpeak, and clips from C-SPAN2 went viral. “By silencing Elizabeth Warren, the GOP gave women around the world a rallying cry,” fellow Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California said over Twitter.

Warren was chastised under a little-used Senate regulation, Rule 19, which bars any senator from impugning the motives of any other or imputing “any conduct or motive unworthy or becoming of a senator.” The Senate historian’s office could not immediately say when the rule was last invoked, but Democrats accused Republicans of selectively enforcing it. They noted the GOP did not apply it when, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas accused Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying in relation to a dispute over the Export-Import Bank two years ago.

This time, Warren drew a warning from the presiding officer as she quoted Tuesday evening from a letter written by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts that referred to Sessions as “a disgrace.” She continued with her speech, and began quoting from Coretta Scott King’s letter and an accompanying statement that accused Sessions, a federal prosecutor at the time, of using the power of his office to “chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”

Democrats are portraying Sessions as a threat to civil rights, voting rights and immigration; Republicans have defended Trump’s choice to be the top law enforcement officer as a man of integrity who will be an independent voice in the new administration.

McConnell stood and invoked Rule 19, saying that Warren has “impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama” in quoting the words from Mrs. King.

Warren, meanwhile, seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2020 along with a handful of other Senate colleagues, was given an even bigger platform to assail Sessions, the GOP and Trump.

“This is about Coretta Scott King’s letter. And that’s all this is about,” Warren said after finishing more than an hour’s worth of television interviews in the ornate rotunda of a Senate office building. “And Mitch McConnell didn’t want me to read that letter. He stopped me. And so I went out and read the letter anyway and posted it on a live feed.”

Democrats challenged McConnell’s ruling, but the GOP majority voted to uphold it, barring Warren from speaking on the floor throughout the remainder of the debate over Sessions.

“She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell said in words that sparked still more liberal outrage and Twitter hashtags.

In the aftermath, Democrats expressed outrage that Warren had been silenced while quoting from the words of a civil rights hero, as a party that’s struggled over the best way to challenge Trump found something all could agree on.

Online: Coretta Scott King letter: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3456928-Coretta-Scott-King-Letter.html

Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed.

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    • My God!

      REPUBLICANS???

      Weenie Republicans who, after more than two decades, have FINALLY grown enough ‘n a d s to get up on their hind legs and FIGHT for a change – – instead of reflexively cringing and begging for mercy with tail between legs like they usually do anytime anyone threatens to talk stink about them for having committed some imaginary ‘offense’?

      Wow!

      The inspiring example this guy Trump has established may have saved the moribund GOP from political extinction with an eleventh hour injection of some much needed (and long overdue) testosterone.

      PRESIDENT Trump has done a MAGNIFICENT job of making exactly the right enemies, very much including our so called “news” media. Not since Spiro my hero Agnew took the hide off these nattering na bobs of negativism have I so enjoyed this much full spectrum political bloodletting.

      Or, as our Cajun friends might put it: “Laissez les bons temps rouler” !!!

  • Warren is exactly what’s wrong with politics Vile, self interested, shrill, and not factual comments. Just innuendo and crybaby. Shes only hurting her party by being such a complete clown here. The more she talks the more I pray she runs for president. Anyone could beat her. She makes Hillary look attractive as a candidate!

    • Reading, verbatim, from a letter by Loretta Scott King is innuendo? Seems to me that reading a letter, introduced into the record, is as factual as you can get.

      • You can skillfully lie with what you leave out, which is what I think Warren is up to. That she actually thinks she is making a reasonable argument brings both her intelligence and honesty into question.

        The principle defendants in the case that Scott references in her letter were the Turners. Their son made the following statement (in reference to Sessions):

        “In my opinion, he’s not a racist,” Turner said. “In my dealings with him, I have not seen racist tendencies or biases from Sen. Sessions.”

        He blames the case on influential black officials and a white district attorney who launched an investigation that contributed to the federal case.

        “You had blacks who didn’t like my father, who you know, felt that he was too influential in this community when it came to politics and other aspects of Perry County’s life, and they sought to make sure his influence was diminished by putting him in jail,” Turner said.
        ref CNN

      • What this phony Indian Senator did was reprehensible and a very ugly attempt to unjustifiably smear Sessions to prevent his confirmation as Attorney General. Yes, Warren was reading a letter entered into the record in 1986 that speculated on what Sessions might do if he became a Federal judge. He did not become a Federal judge. He continued serving as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, then as Attorney General of Alabama and since 1997 as a United States Senator. A record of everything Sessions did during the 31 years since the letter was written is a matter of public record. Democrats have gone over his record with fine-tooth combs and have not been able to find any evidence to show or even suggest that he did anything like Mrs. King feared or that he is unqualified to be the AG. Senator Warren therefore found it necessary to use the letter in a desperate attempt to derail Sessions confirmation as AG. There are two facts regarding this matter. One is that a letter written by Mrs. King was entered into the Congressional record in 1986. The second fact is that the contents of the letter are indeed innuendo. There is one more fact – Sessions will be confirmed.

        • Yes, but the Repubs did not handle it well. Warren should have been allowed to say whatever she wanted and then immediately rebuked on the floor and say exactly what you pointed out.

    • Not at all. She is smart, gracious, insightful and dedicated to economic and social justice. We need much more like her. It is a scandal that the widow of a great American (MLK) was hushed up by oppressive white conservatives who hate America with a passion. Please allow the letter to be read!

    • Warren is an instigator. Reading “books” to the audience of what wife of lecher-and-wife-cheater- Martin Luther King blabbed has no purpose in congress other than wasting time of the audience.

    • You are either one of the richest people in Hawaii or an idiot that hasn’t read about Senator Warren’s work to keep the Big Banks from losing all of YOUR savings, brah !!! Can you read ?? If you can, look at how she has pursued the bankers that caused Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, to name a few, to go BANKRUPT in 2007. They were bailed out to the tune of TRILLIONS of TAXPAYER dollars and not one of them went to jail !!!
      Is THAT YOUR version of shrill & vile ?? She would have killed Donald Duck had she run. Hillary was Donald’s perfect opponent and the USA is going to suffer the consequences of electing a racist, mysogonist, non-Republican, and selfish President !!!

  • Delusional Elizabeth Warren aka.”Pocahontas”……..With leadership like this? The Democrats are failing Big League with this Sore Loser attitude! What is so great about it ,they don’t know this. They won’t until it’s too late.Which to me……is a Good thing! Keep it up Dims!

    • One 10th of 1% Cherokee Indian? Heck Allie’s got more Indian than here! lol!
      She used this minute blood quantum to Gain admission into Harvard.She Snaked the system then ,why should people believe her or her antics today?

  • McConnell just shows that many of our long time elected officials are in the state of senility. There should be age limitation of 60 of all elected regardless of level of government. Warren silenced an other senators were permitted to do what he was doing. Oops just saw Hatch on tv and just his apprehended he portrays a person in senility

  • The party of JFK continues with their childish ranting. And while they rant President Trump is truly making America Great Again with the return of good paying jobs and the installment of serious adults in his cabinet. If this lily-white fake native American is the best the democrats can put forward to oppose Trump in 4 years I almost feel sorry for them…almost.

    • CEI says: If this lily-white fake native American is the best the democrats can put forward to oppose Trump in 4 years I almost feel sorry for them…almost.

      One can but fervently hope Dear “Fakahontas” is the Democrat standard bearer in 2020. If for no other reason than to see President Trump grab her by the stacking swivel and swing her about, to and fro, this way and that, like a mop, to finish sopping up the last remnants of the swamp he will have drained by then.

      Add to that moving bit of fast paced imagery a bit of hot pulsing, heart pounding vibrato and President Trump could have the makings of a gangbusters video he could market to help reduce the deficit.

      Just think: a new Fred Astaire for the 21st Century!

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is demanding no dissent in the Senate ?? You gotta be kidding !! McConnell was a leading supporter of the Birther Movement and the largest obstructionist since the Hoover Dam !! Then, he bad mouthed President Trump during his entire campaign & NOW his lips are solidly attached to President Trump’s haole okole – Talk about a hypocrite !!!
    Senator Elizabeth Warren has more integrity in her pinky fingernail than Hypocrite Racist Mitch McConnell can ever dream of !!

  • Fortunately the voters in her home state are about to shut her up , can’t come too soon. You think she might return the millions from Go fund me that she didn’t use , or is that her retirement fund ?

  • This is so much fun. Watching the democrats go nuts and scream about imagined wrongs. If any republican or democrat for that matter made any remark about bo which they considered improper there would have been screams of racism and every other ism you can think of to silence the speaker. I think the democrats should continue doing what they are doing to please their base which is getting smaller and smaller.

  • Glad to see this crass attempt at censorship is backfiring, and making both Sen.Warren and Mrs. King’s letter more famous than ever. I suspect that the Republicans will succeed in confirming Sessions — which will please people who want to live in that dream world in which “American” equals “white.”

    • Where oh where have you heard that people want a world which “American “equals “white”. Wow you are a racist. All the democrats are doing is making the moderate demos sick of their BS. Trumps executive orders have a fifty -five % approval fir the travel ban and not funding States that have sanctuary cities. Why aren’t they reporting that?

  • You can tell when Dems are on the losing end. They start yelling racist, bigot, Nazi, misogynist. They are an old and tired party led by old and tired people just like here in Hawaii. Nothing real to offer.

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