Republicans have allowed several male Democrats to read a letter from civil rights activist Coretta Scott King uninterrupted, a day after Senator Elizabeth Warren was rebuked from doing so during a debate on Senator Jeff Sessions' nomination.
Warren's colleague from New Mexico, Senator Tom Udall entered the more than 30-year-old letter about Sessions into the record early on Wednesday (8 February). "I entered Coretta Scott King's letter abt #Sessions into the Senate record and read it from the floor—her words should not be silenced," Udall tweeted.
He added: "I read Mrs King's letter about Mr #Sessions' commitment to justice for all. I leave it to my colleagues to assess that commitment," CNN reported.
Udall was not the only senator to read King's letter after Warren's failed attempt.
According to CNN, Senator Jeff Merkley also read the letter on Tuesday (7 February) to give context as to why King was concerned about Sessions' commitment to voting rights. "I wanted to take a few moments now and share some of the letter that was discussed earlier and share it in a fashion that is appropriate under our rules," Merkley said. "I think it's important for us to understand the context of what this letter was all about."
The letter was also mentioned on Wednesday by Senators Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders.
McConnell's rebuke of Warren's attempt to read the letter proved to be a rallying call for those on the left, with many in the media commenting that the Kentucky lawmaker may have provided Warren the perfect slogan for a 2018 Senate re-election bid, or possibly a 2020 presidential run.
"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted," McConnell said on the Senate floor.
McConnell accused Warren of violating Rule XIX, which prohibits impugning the character of a fellow senator, however many critics saw his move as an attempt by a man to silence a woman, The New York Times reported. The move sparked the hashtags #LetLizSpeak and #ShePersisted.
Warren also received the unexpected support of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, according to The Boston Globe. Baker questioned Republican Senate leaders' decision to rebuke Warren and silence her.
"I'm not a parliamentarian, so I'm not going to speak to that," Baker said during a State House press conference. "I do think that the Senate has and always has had an enormously important role with respect to vetting candidates to serve in any administration. I do find it hard to believe that a letter from Coretta Scott King would be out of order in any public place or space anywhere in the United States of America."
Despite attempts by Senate Democrats to curtail Sessions' confirmation as attorney general, the Alabama lawmaker was confirmed along party lines in a vote of 52-47.