Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is demanding an apology for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) after she was banned from speaking during the attorney general nomination process for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
During the debate on whether or not Sessions would become America’s next attorney general, Warren read a letter from Coretta Scott King written in 1986.
The letter was originally read to the Senate Judiciary Committee when Sessions was being considered for a judicial position. In the letter, King questioned Sessions’ record on civil rights and his treatment of African-Americans during his time as U.S. Attorney in Alabama.
Sanders said that he read the exact same letter on the Senate floor, and he isn’t banned, writing in a Facebook post:
When I read the same letter, no one prevented me from speaking. And when I asked to enter the entire text into the record, nobody objected. Sen. McConnell owes Sen. Warren an apology and of course she should participate in this important debate. In the U.S. Senate, you don’t ban a senator from engaging in debate. Donald Trump and Republicans are quickly moving us in an un-American and authoritarian direction. This cannot be allowed to take place in the Senate.
Before Warren was banned, she was warned that she might be breaking a rule with her words, but she was not stopped at that time.
Later, House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came in and invoked the rule for “impugning the motives,” which banned Warren from speaking during the nomination process for Sessions.
When McConnell tried to explain his decision by saying, “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” he inadvertently created a rallying cry for women in opposition to the current administration.
Soon, memes and messages started popping up all over social media with his quote accompanied by powerful images.
@elizabethwarrenma was reading a letter by a Coretta Scott King when Senate Republicans told her to shut up and sit down. By doing so, they were trying to silence two women who were giving voices to all Americans who value civil rights. The Republicans have demonstrated that they want to silence women. Contrary to what Republicans claim, their party does not respect women. #neverthelessshepersisted #shepersisted #womensmarch #womensmarchla #aclu #hellnohedidnt #sexistrepublicans #republicanmisogyny
In spite of the controversy surrounding the nomination process, Sessions was confirmed as attorney general on Wednesday evening.