Senator Elizabeth Warren Reacts to Being Silenced

February 8, 2017 - Tracee Ellis Ross 02/08/2017 Views: 187,873

Senator Elizabeth Warren defends her decision to share Coretta Scott King's letter about attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions on the floor of the Senate. (5:39)

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Now, since Trump's inauguration,

the White House has been thehome of chaos and excitement.

And now Congress is getting inon the action as well.

It's been an exciting weekin the Senate.

And not like exciting by normalSenate standards, you know,

like when they get Raisinetsin the vending machine.

And it's just like, "It's thecandy that won't chip my teeth!"

I'm talkingabout real excitement.

First, Mike Pence became, uh,the first person in 230 years

to break a tie to confirma cabinet secretary.

Yeah. First time in 230 years.

Uh, and the cabinet secretary'sBetsy DeVos,

who all the Democrats andtwo Republicans tried to block.

Now, that amount of excitementwould normally last the Senate

for a month.But this is Trump's America now.

Scandal is the new normal.

REPORTER: The fireworks coming last night

as Senator Elizabeth Warren quoted a 1986 letter

from the late Coretta Scott King.

REPORTER 2: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said

Warren violated Senate rules against criticizing colleagues.

She was warned.

She was given an explanation.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Yeah. Mitch McConnell,

finally standing upto the ladies. Yeah.

"You said I couldn't stand upto Donald Trump.

"And I couldn't. But I'll standup to Dr. King's dead widow.

Ha-ha. How you like me now?"

This is the absurdityof the Senate.

Mitch McConnellis accusing Elizabeth Warren

of attacking the integrityof Alabama senator

and attorney general nomineeJeff Sessions.

Only becauseshe's reading a letter

Dr. King's wife wrotecriticizing Sessions

blocking black people'svoting rights.

And that is apparentlyagainst the rules.

So basically the way it worksin the Senate

is a senator can do bad things,

but you can't point out thata senator is doing bad things.

Which sounds lesslike the government

and morelike the Catholic Church.

In a situation like this,I can't imagine

what Elizabeth Warrenis thinking right now.

Um, so I guesswhy don't I just ask her.

Joining us live via satellite,

Senator Elizabeth Warren,everybody.

(cheering and applause)

Senator Warren,

thank you so much for takingthe time and joining us.

-I know you have a vote to getto, uh, very shortly. -I do.

So we'll get straight into it.

You stood upto read that letter.

In the time that thishas blown up everywhere,

four of your male colleagues

have been able to readthe letter in full.

Is there something to that?

Should you, uh, have been a manto read this letter?

Look, the main thing isthat millions of people

are now readingCoretta Scott King's letter.

It is an amazing letter.

It is a letter full of passion.

It is a letter full of heart,

and it's a letter fullof advice to us.

It talksabout a moment in history

when African-Americans werebeaten away from the polls.

And it talks aboutJeff Sessions' role in that.

And I think it has an importantlesson today for all of America.

I hopeeverybody reads her letter.

That's Coretta Scott King'sletter

talking about whyit is so important

to have public officialswho actually believe

in equal rightsand equal opportunities

for every one of us.

Do you thinkyou realized in that moment,

and do you thinkMitch McConnell realized

-what a solid he's done you?-(laughter)

-No.-Because, I mean, since-since

that happened,just on Facebook Live alone,

when you read the letter,

it got six million viewslast time I checked,

and it is everywhere,and people are reading it.

This is somethingthat has helped you.

No, what it's done is

it's helped us have a betterdemocratic conversation.

You know, understand,we don't have the votes

in the United States Senate

to block somebodylike Jeff Sessions,

or yesterday, to blocka secretary of education

who doesn't believein public education.

We don't have those votes.

So what we've got to dois count on people

all around this countryto make their voices heard.

Some people would say, though,"Those are the rules.

"What you did on the floorwas breaking the rules.

You are not meant to impugnthe motives of a senator."

So when you look at that,do you go, "I broke the rules,"

or do you thinkthat the rules are used

when the people feel likethey should be used?

You know,I just want to start here

with the Republicans' responseon this.

Coretta Scott King,in her letter,

talks abouthow Jeff Sessions managed,

by prosecuting civil rightsworkers

who were trying to helpelderly African-Americans vote,

that by prosecuting them,

they had done whatlocal sheriffs had accomplished

20 years ago with clubsand cattle prods.

She talks aboutwhat Jeff Sessions directly did

as the U.S. Attorneyfor Alabama.

And you noticethe Republicans are not saying,

"Hey, those aren't the facts,"or, "Something has changed,"

or, "He did allthese other things afterwards."

No, what they're saying is, youdon't get to talk about that.

Well, I knowyou've got a vote to get to.

I appreciate you for your time.

-Thank you so much for joiningus. -(applause and cheering)

-Good luck fighting...-Thank you.

...what at times seems likethe unfightable fight.

-Elizabeth Warren, everybody.-Thank you.