Senate Republicans voted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Tuesday night after she read a letter Coretta Scott King wrote in 1986 disavowing U.S. attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, who, at the time, was being considered for a federal judge position.
Warren read the letter on the Senate floor during debates over President Donald Trump's nomination of Sessions for attorney general, reading aloud, "Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge."
According to CNN, Sen. Mitch McConnell charged Warren with violating the Senate's little-known Rule 19, which says senators cannot impugn each other.
"She was warned," McConnell said Tuesday night. "She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
The second McConnell's words left his mouth, they were no longer his own — Twitter users immediately seized the statement McConnell had wielded to silence Warren and turned it into a feminist mantra, using it to tell the stories of women whose persistence has changed the course of history.
In the age of President Donald Trump, feminists have become adept at turning GOP politicians' most misogynist, condescending and dismissive comments about women into messages of empowerment.
In the final presidential debate, Trump couldn't help but interrupt opponent Hillary Clinton to call her a "nasty woman." It backfired spectacularly: Instead of tearing down Clinton, the cruel dig only incited her supporters to plaster the message on t-shirts, pins and the protest signs they would later march down the National Mall.
If Republicans aren't more careful with their words, they might just start an entire movement.