Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell inadvertently (or perhaps intentionally) gave Democrats a perfect catchphrase while invoking an arcane Senate rule to silence Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. On Tuesday night as part of her opposition to Jeff Sessions’ attorney general nomination, Warren began reading a 1986 Coretta Scott King letter that opposed Sessions’ nomination to a federal judgeship. But McConnell cut her off mid-sentence by invoking the obscure Senate Rule XIX, which forbids senators from disparaging one another (Sessions is an Alabama senator in addition to Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee). McConnell later justified his action by saying, “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Naturally, the image of a man shutting down a female senator reading the words of a female civil rights icon (during Black History Month, no less) didn’t go over too well with a large segment of the population. And Twitter users are now using the phrase “nevertheless, she persisted” as a political rallying cry. Along with the hashtag #LetLizSpeak, #ShePersisted has been circulating on Twitter. And people have begun applying it to all sorts of different female heroes, both real and fictional:
Even Hillary Clinton—herself the subject of many #ShePersisted celebrations—chimed in by tweeting her support of Warren:
While Warren was forbidden from speaking during the rest of the debate on Sessions, she did take to Facebook Live to read King’s letter in its entirety:
Meanwhile, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico read King’s letter into the official Senate record as a show of solidarity.