Senate

Sanders, Dems read Coretta Scott King’s letter after Warren silenced

Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are taking to the Senate floor to read Coretta Scott King’s letter after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was temporarily banned from speaking.  

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took the Senate floor on Wednesday to read the 1986 letter King wrote opposing Sen. Jeff Sessions’s (R-Ala.) nomination for a federal judgeship. 
 
“The idea that a letter and a statement made by Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. … could not be presented and spoken about here on the floor of the Senate is, to me, incomprehensible,” he said from the Senate floor. 

{mosads}Sanders read the entirety of the letter including a portion — which got Warren in hot water on Tuesday night — that alleged Sessions “has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.” 

Sanders — who missed Tuesday night’s vote — defended Warren, arguing that she brought “forth a statement made by one of the heroines, one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement of the United States of America.”  

Sanders’ speech comes after Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) read the letter from the Senate floor earlier Wednesday. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also read the letter, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) read parts of it on Tuesday night. 

“It’s a sad day for our democracy … when the words of Coretta Scott King are not allowed on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” Brown said.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) had tried to include the letter in the record on Tuesday night but was blocked by Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho). 

Warren thanked both Brown and Udall on Twitter for their support. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren on Tuesday night and said that she had violated Senate rules by impugning her colleague, Sessions, President Trump’s pick for attorney general.

Senate Republicans voted to rebuke Warren, and she is barred from speaking on the Senate floor through Wednesday evening, when lawmakers will wrap up the debate on Sessions’ nomination.

A progressive outside group blasted Republicans as being “sexist” for allowing the male Democratic senators to read part of the letter but not Warren. 

“It is unbelievably hypocritical and sexist for Mitch McConnell to silence Sen. Warren citing the words of a civil rights hero, but allow her male colleagues to speak the very same words without objection,” said  Kait Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. 

– Updated at 1:52 p.m.

 

Tags Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Jeff Merkley Jeff Sessions Mitch McConnell Sheldon Whitehouse Sherrod Brown Tom Udall

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