Senator Mitch McConnell decided to make an example of Elizabeth Warren. During the debate over appointing Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as Trump's Attorney General, Warren started reading from a letter written by Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King. In that letter, Coretta King states that Jeff Sessions is a racist and not fit to be a Federal Judge.
McConnell then made what could be the biggest blunder of his political career. Using an obscure parliamentary rule, he "silenced" Warren, then made a statement for the record that may go down in history as one of the greatest rallying cries for women:
“She was warned,” McConnell said on the Senate floor after the confrontation. “She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
It’s hard to imagine a pithier encapsulation of nearly every struggle for justice in the history of humanity. Without even trying, McConnell wrote the future epitaph of hundreds of people who have the phrase “nasty woman” in their Twitter bios.
It's the quote that launched a thousand Twitter and Facebook memes, and McConnell probably regretted saying it right away.
Of course, Warren fought back, continuing to read the letter in the hallway outside the Senate, then discussing it with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, who also read the letter on the air. Then she started tweeting back in defiance:
On the floor, I read a letter that Coretta Scott King wrote in 1986 opposing @SenatorSessions's judicial nomination: https://t.co/mnACXekh8f— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
I spoke out about @SenatorSessions – until @SenateMajLdr McConnell decided to silence me. https://t.co/qbty7x0iLl— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
Tonight @SenateMajLdr silenced Mrs King's voice on the Sen floor - & millions who are afraid & appalled by what's happening in our country.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
Then after he was confirmed by the GOP:
There’s no Rule 19 to silence me from talking about Jeff Sessions anymore. So let me say loudly & clearly: This is just the beginning.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 9, 2017
If Jeff Sessions turns a blind eye while @realDonaldTrump violates the Constitution or breaks the law, he'll hear from all of us.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 9, 2017
If Jeff Sessions makes even the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism & bigotry into @TheJusticeDept, he'll hear from all of us.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 9, 2017
Consider this MY warning: We won’t be silent. We will speak out. And we WILL persist.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 9, 2017