In Silencing Warren, McConnell Gave Dems a New Battle Cry
'Nevertheless, she persisted'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2017 5:26 AM CST
Updated Feb 9, 2017 6:27 AM CST
"We WILL persist," Warren tweeted.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have inadvertently handed Democrats—and feminists—a new rally cry with his move to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren Tuesday night. "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted," McConnell said, using an arcane rule to ban Warren from further discussion of the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. The "Nevertheless, she persisted" line became what the Atlantic calls an "instant classic," showing up in memes with pictures of women from Harriet Tubman to Princess Leia, as well as on mugs and T-shirts. A roundup of coverage:

  • The hashtag #LetLizSpeak started trending and was used to address the broader issue of women being silenced or ignored by men, the New York Times reports.

  • Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said the silencing appeared to be a "carefully orchestrated" Republican plot, Politico reports. "Sen. Warren has a special talent to get under the skins of Republicans," Durbin said. "I'm sure her speeches bother them more than the speeches of many Democrats."
  • The Hill reports that Warren, who had been accused of impugning Sessions by reading a 1986 letter from Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, went on a media blitz Wednesday. The incident raised her profile so much that Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, accuses McConnell of trying to promote her as a 2020 presidential candidate, possibly in the belief that Trump could beat her easily. "It could not have possibly escaped him that telling the most prominent woman senator [to] sit down and shut up while reading a letter from Coretta Scott King would promote her among Democrats," he says.
  • Heidi Stevens at the Chicago Tribune thanks McConnell for coming up with a "new feminist rally cry" that she believes is likely to endure. "Three little words that women can draw on for decades to come, when something needs to be said and, darn it, we plan to say it," she writes.
  • CNN reports that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham described the silencing as "long overdue" in an interview Wednesday. "The Democratic Party is being pushed really hard by the most extreme voices in their community, and they just don't know how to handle it," he said. "If they empower her, then I think the Democratic Party is gonna lose [its] way with the vast majority of the American people."
  • "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," Warren tweeted after the attorney general was confirmed Wednesday. In follow-up tweets, she vowed to fight any signs of "racism, sexism & bigotry" from Sessions and the senators who voted for "his radical hatred," saying: "Consider this MY warning: We won't be silent. We will speak out. And we WILL persist."

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