Senator Elizabeth Warren was formally silenced on the Senate floor yesterday by majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell.
Warren was in the midst of reciting a 1986 letter written by Coretta Scott King criticizing Jeff Sessions, in an attempt to contest his forthcoming confirmation as Attorney General.
Senator McConnell suddenly interrupted, claiming:
"The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair."
He then incited an order known as Rule XIX, which states that "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."
Senator Warren objected and requested to continue her remarks, but was eventually silenced and told to take her seat by Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, who was presiding in the chamber at the time.
The incident has sparked an outcry from Democrats on social media, and the hashtag #LetLizSpeak quickly began circulating.
"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted." pic.twitter.com/FdSlIyxsrI
— T. Fisher King (@T_FisherKing)
This is type of hypocritical government we'll be dealing with for next four years. Either agree with us or shut up. I will not
— ♻️ Christopher Zullo (@ChrisJZullo)
The hashtag #ShePersisted has also been used, given Senator McConnel's remark: "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
Social media users have been citing other historic instances of women persevering through oppression, such as Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman.
Know who else was warned & given an explanation, yet persisted? Rosa Parks. Susan B Anthony. Harriet Tubman. Malala Yousafzai.
— Emily Clasper (@eclasper)
Senator Warren is now barred from comment on the Senate floor when it comes to topics on or relating to Jeff Sessions.