Local protesters upset over GOP silence of Warren

February 9, 2017 GMT

About 30 people gathered to demonstrate outside of U.S. Sen. Steve Daines’ Kalispell office Wednesday afternoon to express their concerns about the Senate Republican majority vote Tuesday to silence U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Warren was rebuked at a confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, while reading a letter by Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, opposing Sessions ultimately unsuccessful nomination to a federal judgeship in 1986.

Daines, a Republican, was presiding over the Senate as Warren read the letter.

Wednesday’s demonstration in Kalispell was organized by the newly formed political action group Big Sky Rising.

“People were pretty upset that Sen. Daines, being the presiding officer in the Senate, shut down Sen. Warren,” protester Joan Vetter Ehrenberg said in an interview. “It felt like democracy was being threatened.”

“If you can’t discuss a senator’s virtues on the Senate floor while considering them for a Cabinet position, when can you?”

Republicans argued they were enforcing necessary rules of decorum.

Sessions was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday evening. Daines praised the selection in a press statement.

“As Attorney General, he will faithfully defend the Constitution and enforce the rule of law,” the Montana senator said of Sessions.

Vetter Ehrenberg said no one was at Daines’ office at the time of the protest. She said Daines’ local representative planned to speak with members of the group today.

- The Associated Press contributed to this article