MSNBC: GOP 'Trying to Shut Up' One of 'Most Influential Women in Politics Today'

February 8th, 2017 10:45 AM

Wednesday morning on MSNBC, a panel led by Stephanie Ruhle discussed Senator Elizabeth Warren’s stunt on the Senate Floor Tuesday night, giving a lengthy speech quoting Coretta Scott King, which opposed Trump cabinet nominee Jeff Sessions. After colleagues determined Warren had violated Senate rules by attacking another senator’s integrity, House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Warren she had lost her speaking privileges. Liberals were outraged by the decision, and the media has spun the story from their side. None moreso than MSNBC, who used this incident as another way to attack Republicans as sexist racists.

On the Wednesday morning MSNBC Live panel, host Stephanie Ruhle began the discussion by asking former RNC Chairman Michael Steele this audacious question:

RUHLE: It’s part of the gentlemanly order to shut down and silence one of the most influential women in politics today?

Rule followed up by asking if this was actually a good thing for Warren, since it gave her more support from the left.

RUHLE: Did Mitch McConnell give her a gift, did he just create her campaign slogan of 2020?

Ruhle’s panel also included Neera Tanden, of the Center for American Progress, and the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. Tanden teamed up with Ruhle to characterize the “silencing” of Warren and Scott’s letter as a sexist and racist attack:

TANDEN, Center for American Progress: [T]he reality is that more people now understand that Coretta Scott King went to extraordinary measures to say that Jeff Sessions was racist, and oppressed peoples' voting rights, and that's a terrible thing, and if that's a great spin for the Republican party --

STEELE: It changes nothing. That's why this is such drama. It changes nothing.

TANDEN:--That is an indictment of Republicans--

STEELE: It’s an indictment of Democrats who couldn’t win the election

TANDEN: Just let me say this. The fact that Coretta Scott King's letter means nothing to the Republican party, it's an indictment, and especially right now...

Cillizza and Steele both argued that this move by McConnell fostered both bases, the Republicans who hated Warren and the liberals who loved her. But Ruhle kept pushing back, arguing that “sane people” wouldn’t choose to shush Warren:

RUHLE:  Hold on! You don’t have to be part of the Republican base, to be a woman that says I don't want to get shushed, and the moment you decide to shush her is when she is speaking the words of Martin Luther King's widow, and that's not just about the Republican base. That’s about a lot of sane people out there who would say, ‘You chose this moment?’

TANDEN: Exactly.

Cillizza agreed that it didn’t serve Republican optics but that it was still a “win” for Republicans because their base hates Warren. Ruhle jumped in again to note that Democrat Senator Tom Udall was now reading from King’s letter on the Senate floor, and no Republican was trying to stop him.

RUHLE: Guess what Tom Udall from new Mexico is doing on the Senate floor right now on purpose, reading the King letter. If he did it on purpose, though, what does that say?... Can you only use 19 once? How come Tom Udall who happens to be a white man is not getting shut down?

While Steele and Cillizza argued that Warren was more of a well-known and contentious figure than Udall, and that was why she was taken to task, that point didn’t make much sway with feminists Ruhle and Tanden.To finish the hour, Tanden again brought up the sexism charge more forcefully:

TANDEN: The fact that Tom Udall is not going to be stopped, he's speaking away, just shows a lot of women out there, women who marched, women who are active right now, they're going to see this for what it is, which is going after women, trying to shut up a woman.