Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) selectively enforced an obscure Senate rule to silence Elizabeth Warren as she discussed Trump attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
As Sen. Warren was quoting Coretta Scott King, McConnell interrupted and said, “The Senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama as warned by the Chair. Sen Warren said, ‘Sen. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.’ I call the Senate to order under provisions of Rule XIX.”
Warren said, “Mr. President, I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate. I ask leave of the Senate to continue my remarks.”
McConnell objected. Warren appealed, and the result was a 49-43 party line vote rebuking Warren for violating the Senate rules during a floor speech.
In a statement to PolitcusUSA, Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office pointed out the selective enforcement of the rule, “Senate Republicans have regularly flaunted Rule XIX in the past – but Republicans never asked them to sit down. This is a clear case of selective enforcement. Only Sen. Warren accurately quoting from MLK’s widow provoked Republicans to action.”
Senate Rule XIX was most famously broken by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2015 when he called Senate Majority Leader McConnell a liar on the Senate floor.
Rule XIX was not invoked against Cruz, so the lesson is that it is fine to call the Senate Majority Leader a liar as long as you are a Republican, but Democrats will be considered in violation of the rules if they quote a Civil Rights hero accurately.
Even for Mitch McConnell, this is a new disgusting low.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association