GOP Silencing of Senator Warren Means Big Campaign Bucks, Publicity
By Evan Lips | February 8, 2017, 18:20 EST
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, by virtue of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Kentucky) decision to silence her over rules governing the “impugning” of another sitting senator — in this case, attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions — is receiving more publicity than she could have ever imagined.
She had already spoken out against Sessions’s bid for more than 45 minutes when McConnell invoked a rarely-used Senate rule. Warren had been in the midst of reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, deceased wife of civil rights legend Martin Luther King Jr., that King had written to show her opposition to Sessions’s bid for a 1986 federal judgeship. U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-Montana), wielding the gavel Tuesday night, ordered Warren to sit down, after she had been warned several times earlier regarding her conduct.
Social media took notice, including Twitter — the social media company itself turned the Warren incident into one of its “moments,” and compared the struggle of the white, wealthy Ivy League law professor from Cambridge to that of Rosa Parks:
“Nevertheless, she persisted.” https://t.co/ase6qCChgk
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) February 8, 2017
On Wednesday, Warren told Politico she would have preferred to have continued reading King’s letter rather than to have been cast into the center of a procedural firefight.
“I just wanted to read the letter, and I want everybody to read the letter,” Warren told the news outlet. “That’s how I see it — this debate is about Senator Sessions’s nomination to serve as attorney general, the chief law enforcement official in the nation.”
The party-line 49-43 vote to shut down Warren quickly morphed into a fund-raising rallying cry. McConnell’s own words (“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”) predictably became part of a political marketing bonanza:
— iFrogtees (@Frogteex) February 8, 2017
Warren finished her speech on Facebook Live, where rather than being seen by the few watching CSPAN-2, it was watched online by an estimated 5.2 million viewers.
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) February 8, 2017
According to USA Today, a donation haul topping $250,000 has flowed into the Warren campaign war chest less than a day after the incident. MoveOn.org, specifically, used the incident in an email blast they say resulted in 9,000 individuals taking out their checkbooks.
“By standing with Elizabeth Warren, we’re standing up against that kind of bigotry,” the organization said in a statement Wednesday. “We’re standing up for freedom of speech. And we’re standing up for something else that is under threat in the age of Trump: Truth.”
Read King’s letter:
— Allison (@amubalt) February 8, 2017