Elizabeth Warren, silenced by Senate, takes to Facebook Live and Twitter

In an extraordinary move, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate Republicans on Tuesday night as she tried to read aloud a letter written by Coretta Scott King about Sen. Jeff Sessions — Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general — on the Senate floor.

So Warren did what any modern legislator has learned to do by now. She turned to social media. She tweeted about what happened. She then took to Facebook Live and read the letter by King, saying “the Republicans took away my right to read this letter on the floor — so I’m right outside, reading it now.”

Warren was reading from a letter by the Coretta Scott King, the widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The letter urged Congress to block the 1986 nomination of Jeff Sessions for federal judge, saying “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.” Civil rights advocates are urging against Sessions’ confirmation as U.S. attorney general based on his record; the letter by King was recently made public.

McConnell said Warren’s testimony against Sessions’ nomination and her reading of the letter violated Senate rules.

“The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama,” McConnell said. “I call the senator to order under the provisions of Rule 19.” The rest of the GOP senators then voted to bar Warren for speaking on the Senate floor for the rest of the debate about the Sessions nomination, which is expected to last until Wednesday night.

After the vote, McConnell defended his action: “Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

The Senate drama gave birth to the Twitter hashtag #LetLizSpeak, with other Democratic senators also taking to social media to express their outrage and the letter being tweeted left and right. In addition, Warren’s video on Facebook had 2.2 million views an hour after the Massachusetts senator went live — with the King letter probably ending up being more widely circulated than if Warren had actually been allowed to finish her speech on the Senate floor.

Bernice King, the youngest child of MLK Jr. and Coretta Scott King (who died in 2006), also weighed in on Twitter Tuesday night.

It’s not the first time Democrats vs. Republicans played out via a high-profile live stream: Last summer, House Democrats who staged a sit-in over a gun-control vote used Facebook Live and Periscope to broadcast their protest after House Speaker Paul Ryan called a recess, thus turning off the C-SPAN cameras. C-SPAN then picked up the social-media live streams. As a result, Republicans voted last month to ban live-streaming from the House floor.


Photo: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2015. (Susan Walsh/AP)


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  • Jim F

    She was trying to stall the votes and she got told to knock it off. I guess elections do have consequences….

  • OaktownCoug

    Pocahontas is even getting on the nerves of Democrats. She is running for President and making all sorts of noise. If she wishes to bring something up she should not have to go abck over 30 years to find something.

  • simon tills

    I sure hope that Fauxcunthontas remains the face of the dem party for a long, long time. McConnell did a great job shutting the old hag up.