Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been banned from participating in the floor debate regarding Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination for attorney general.
The Alabama Republican is expected to be confirmed for the position in President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday.
The gag order on Warren came after she read a 1986 letter about Sessions from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., during a debate Tuesday.
In the letter to Sen. Strom Thurmond, King strongly opposed Sessions’ then-nomination to be a federal judge.
“Mr. Sessions' conduct as a US Attorney, from his politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws, indicated that he lacks the temperament, fairness and judgment to be a federal judge,” she wrote. “If confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods."
Republicans accused Warren of violating Senate rules that bar senators from challenging another senator. A party-line vote then removed Warren from the discussion regarding Sessions’ nomination.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor.
“They can shut me up, but they can’t change the truth,” Warren told CNN’s Don Lemon afterward.
“The letter is powerful, the letter is deeply moving, and it is an important historical document,” she added. "It moved a Republican-controlled Senate to say ‘no’ in confirming (Sessions) as a federal judge.”
Soon after the news broke, #LetLizSpeak exploded on Twitter, and so did Sen. Warren, writing that McConnell “silenced Mrs King’s voice on the Sen floor – & millions who are afraid & appalled by what’s happening in our country.”
She alsosaid she will “not be silent while the Republicans rubber stamp an AG who will never stand up” to Trump “when he breaks the law.”
Trump, withoutmentioning specifics, tweeted on his @realDonaldTrump account that “It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country. Obstruction by Democrats!”
His official @POTUS account then retweeted the comment.
Tonight on the Senate floor, I tried to speak about why @SenatorSessions is totally unfit to serve as Attorney General.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
I will not be silent while the Republicans rubber stamp an AG who will never stand up to the @POTUS when he breaks the law.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
Tonight @SenateMajLdr silenced Mrs King's voice on the Sen floor - & millions who are afraid & appalled by what's happening in our country.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country. Obstruction by Democrats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017