Senator Daines’ Unfinished Business – Guest Post

Post authors: Cherilyn DeVries and Alison James

It didn’t take long for Montana women to notice that the mouthpiece of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s unprecedented interruption of Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday night was Montana’s junior Senator, Steve Daines. You can watch the whole thing here, but suffice it to say that though McConnell interrupted her, it was Daines, as the presiding officer, who cut her off.

Daines attempted to silence Warren as she was reading a letter written in 1986 by Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. This letter has only recently surfaced, even though it was submitted as testimony against Sessions when the Senate was considering him for a federal judgeship with a lifetime appointment. (The Senate rejected Sessions due to testimony by Sessions’ own staff about racist statements he allegedly made.)

So Daines silenced Warren, who was giving voice to a previously silenced King, who was reporting on Sessions’ own behavior. Why? Testimony about Sessions’ own actions has suddenly been classified as impugning another Senator, which is against Senate rules.

We’re not surprised. Montana women are accustomed to being dismissed by Senator Steve Daines. On healthcare, reproductive rights, education, and domestic violence prevention, Daines has been working against women all along. And it’s also not unusual to see Daines acting as the mouthpiece of the GOP’s ultra-conservative agenda.

We’re not surprised, but we are fed up with Senator Daines and his inability to listen. So let’s help him out with some unfinished business this week: stop by one of Daines’ offices and drop off a copy of King’s letter along with a personal note stating your objection to Daines’ behavior toward Warren.

You can print the letter here: Coretta Scott King statement on Jeff Sessions

After all, the only person impugning Sessions is Sessions himself.

Senator Daines Office Locations


222 N. 32nd Street, Ste. 100
Billings, MT 59101
p: (406) 245-6822

Great Falls

104 4th Street North, Ste. 302
Great Falls, MT 59401
p: (406) 453-0148


30 West 14th Street, Ste. 206
Helena, MT 59601
p: (406) 443-3189


13 S. Willson Ave. Ste. 8
Bozeman, MT 59718
p: (406) 587-3446


218 East Front Street, Ste. 103
Missoula, MT 59802
p: (406) 549-8198


40 2nd St East, Suite 211
(KM Building)
Kalispell, Montana 59901
p: (406) 257-3765


609 S. Central Ave. Suite #4
(Central Plaza Building)
Sidney, MT, 59270
p: (406) 482-9010


310 N Center
Hardin MT 59034
p: (406) 665-4126

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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Nathan Kosted


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  • The reason that it was Daines in the chair is because freshman Senators are often assigned to sit in the chair and act as presiding officer, as a way to learn Senate procedure.
    His actions as presiding officer have more to do with enforcing the actions of the Senate, in this case, the result of the majority vote. The outcome would have been the same if it had been a different Republican freshman Senator presiding.

    • I think a key insight here is that they used this procedure to silence Warren reading the letter, but the next day male senators read the same letter and were not told to sit down or be quiet. I’m not sure what Senate rule that’s about, but it sounds like sexism to me.

  • You could be right, Tyler, but it still looked like a Keystone Cops moment to me. McConnell rushing in to interrupt Warren, Daines grappling with procedure, a staffer telling Daines what to say and Warren flustering Daines at every turn.

    WaPo wrote a little history piece about Rule 19 that was invoked by McConnell. It harkens back to Thomas Jefferson days and is seldom used:

    And as James Conner points out in an earlier comment, if McConnell and Daines had just let Warren finish, this story wouldn’t have made the news cycle. Now it’s front page.

    Between the Warren exchange and his DeVos vote, Daines had a very rough day.

    • Daines doesn’t think he had a bad day at all. He is relishing in his new-found notoriety as some badass who put a liberal woman in her place and told her to take her seat. He’s hanging with the big boys now (McConnell et al). He can’t be bothered by some pesky Montanan women being upset with him and posting snarky insulting comments on social media; he feels quite safe and unstoppable, but hopefully not past 2020.

  • More Fox news.

    Dr. Alveda King reacts to Sen. Warren’s comments

    Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., reacts to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife in the Senate.

    The Senate voted along party lines in favor of a rule that essentially silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday night after she quoted from a letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, during her criticism of Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for Attorney General.

    The rule states that senators may not “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.”

    Senator Warren spoke after the dust up about what she couldn’t say, early Wednesday.

    “This is about Coretta Scott King’s letter and that’s all this is about,” Senator Warren told reporters. “She wrote a powerful letter about an important moment in history that directly involved Jeff Sessions and is directly relevant to the question of whether Jeff Sessions ought to be the attorney general of the United States — and Mitch McConnell didn’t want me to read that letter.”

    Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., however, said Senator Warren is using the King named to play the race card and stir up emotions.

    “In that letter [Coretta Scott King] would be referring to some of [Sen. Jeff Sessions] comments,” King told the FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto. “However, she would agree today that he of course ended some [school segregation and] he worked to prosecute members of the KKK.”

    King added: “It’s almost like a bait and switch, stir up the emotions, in the name of King—and my name is Alveda King… [and] play the race card, which she was attempting to do.”

    Nevertheless King said the issue hasn’t divided the family.

    “We are taking a look at many things that Mrs. Coretta Scott King said, Martin Luther King Jr., my daddy A.D. King,” she said. “But our family—we are peacemakers, we bring people together… we do not divide people.”

  • Massachusetts GOP Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes sent a fundraising email highlighting the WBUR poll to assert, “voters are sick of Elizabeth Warren and they want fresh, new leadership. …Voters clearly see that Warren’s hyper-partisan, extremist rhetoric does nothing for our state, and serves only to isolate her in D.C.”

    • Bill, read Alveda King again. How about for one month you practise being a peacemaker instead of practising being a divider.

  • Who is the divider? Have you seen any one chastised, ridiculed, intimidated, or harassed for voting for Hillary? Have you watched CNN, CNBC, NBC, a award show lately or a late-night television talk show.

  • Predictably Sessions was confirmed, as will be the case with all of the Presidents cabinet. I think this ‘Outrage’ by the Dems will fizzle out quickly.

    • On the contrary, Eric, momentum is building. Just wait and see. Taking a page from the Tea Party playbook, Democrats are showing up en masse at town hall meetings, swamping Senate and House phone lines and emails, organizing rallies and protests, and getting fired up for the 2018 and 2020 elections. The times they are a-changin’.

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