Shutting Down Sen. Warren A Bad Move

If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to ensure that millions of people heard U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., read a letter from the late Coretta Scott King that was critical of attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., he succeeded.

Of course, that was not his goal at all. Mr. McConnell, likely frustrated by Democrats' delay tactics during confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump's Cabinet appointees, told her, in parliamentary language, to sit down and shut up on Tuesday night.

It didn't work out the way he wanted. Within 16 hours, more than 8 million people had seen the video of Mrs. Warren reciting the letter that she posted live on Facebook.

Mr. McConnell's churlish attempt to single out Ms. Warren is offensive to the debate process and to the senator herself, especially since a number of other senators — all male — successfully read from the letter on the floor shortly afterward.

Ms. Warren's crime was, according to Mr. McConnell, a violation of Senate Rule XIX, which states that no senator shall "impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator."

The full text of Mrs. King's statement raises serious allegations about Mr. Sessions' conduct during investigations of voting fraud in 1985, a case that has dogged him to this day.

If that's not germane to the confirmation hearings of the nominee of attorney general of the United States, nothing is.

Mr. McConnell could just have easily let it go, and Ms. Warren's words — and the words of Mrs. King — would likely have dissipated into the night air. But by shutting her down, Mr. McConnell ensured that millions more would hear her words.

A little more respect for his colleagues, and for the process, would suit Mr. McConnell well.

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