February 9 2017
It had to happen.
No sooner did Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell--quite properly--order Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) off the floor after she blasted then-fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-S.C.) for racism in the guise of reading aloud a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King than the feminist social-justice brigade started screaming sexism.
Leading the pack was Susan Chira of the New York Times:
Was there a woman who didn’t recognize herself in the specter of Elizabeth Warren silenced by a roomful of men?...
At a meeting where you speak up, only to be cut off by a man. Where your ideas are ignored until a man repeats them and then they are pure genius — or, simply, acknowledged.
Being interrupted or ignored, and being one of the few women in the room, can be both inhibiting and enraging. You check your own perception: Was I being too aggressive, or did I really have a point? Is this about being a woman, or something else?
Chira complained that male Democratic senators, including Vermont's Bernie Sanders and Oregon's Jeff Merkley got to read King's letter into the Congressional Record after the debate--so double standard!
Laurel Raymond of Think Progress chimed in:
Republicans didn’t silence all the Democrats who read Coretta Scott King’s letter on Senate floor
Four male senators have read the letter by Coretta Scott King that Sen. Warren was censured for reading earlier in the night.
Then, as the Daily Caller reports, MSNBC's Kasie Hunt tried her darnedest, in a Capitol Hill interview with Warren, to get Warren to deem McConnell's conduct "sexist" (although Warren had the sense to demur):
“Do you think what Sen. McConnell did last night was sexist?” Hunt flatly posed to Warren.
“I think what he did was wrong,” Warren responded before Hunt pressed her a second time.
But was it sexist?”
Warren answered by shaking her head but stopped short of saying, “no.”
Here is the Daily Caller's report on what actually happened on the Senate Floor just before the vote to confirm Sessions as U.S. attorney general:
At 7:16 p.m., Warren began to read the Coretta Scott King Letter, written in 1986 when Sessions was seeking a federal judgeship. The widow of the late civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr., said that Sessions had “used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to Warren’s comments at 7:46 p.m. and motioned to invoke Rule 19, ordering Warren to stand down from the floor.
Under Senate Rule 19.2, senators are not allowed to “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.”
Warren blasted Sessions as a racist who would be a disgrace to the Justice Dept. “To put Senator Sessions in charge of the Department of Justice is an insult to African-Americans,” the senator said, a statement consider rather harsh by Senate standards.
The Massachusetts progressive was warned by fellow senators that she was on the verge of breaking decorum, but Warren persisted.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,”McConnell said following the rebuke.
None of Warren's feminist fans mentioned that six women senators joined the men to vote to silence Warren after her alleged Rule 19 violation: Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Iowa's Joni Ernst, Maine's Susan Collins, Nebraska's Deb Fischer, New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, and West Virginia's Shelley Moore. The Senate later voted 52-47 to confirm Sessions.
By the way, Coretta King's 1986 letter accusing Sessions of having tried to "intimidate" black voters involved some voting-fraud charges that Sessions had brought, as U.S. attorney for Southern Alabama, on behalf of other black voters who said that their names had been forged onto ballots in an attempt to skew an election.