Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addressed the Senate shortly after Republicans voted to rebuke and silence Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for negative comments about Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
“We have become a society incapable of having debates anymore,” Rubio said.
Rubio continued to say members from both parties, including himself, were guilty of using hyperbolic and unfair language during debates.
“We are reaching a point in this republic where we’re not going to be able to solve the simplest of issues. Everyone is putting themselves in a corner where everyone hates everybody.”
Watch Rubio’s remarks:
Earlier that evening, Warren read a letter by Coretta Scott King in 1986 about Sessions, President’s Trump’s nominee for attorney general. In the letter, Mrs. King claims Sessions, “had used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.” At the time the letter was written, Session was a U.S. attorney in Alabama and was being considered for a federal judgeship.
About 20 minutes later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came to the floor to invoke Rule 19, a Senate rule covering debates that includes the provision, “No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
“The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair,” McConnell said.
Watch the exchange:
Senators voted 49-47, along party lines, to rebuke Warren. Despite Warren’s rejections, she was instructed to “take her seat” by Sen. Steve Daines, who was presiding over the Senate at the time.
Warren released the following statement via Twitter:
I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) 8 February 2017
This was the latest in a series of battles between Senate Republicans and Democrats over some of President Trump’s more controversial cabinet appointments, including Sessions and Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed Tuesday to lead the Department of Education after a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence.