Elizabeth Warren Fires Back at John Kelly’s “Arrogant Woman” Comment

“Mitch McConnell can’t shut me up—and neither can John Kelly,” the senator wrote in a fundraising email.

U.S Senate/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire

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Not one to shy away from criticism, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had a few choice words for White House chief of staff John Kelly, who called her an “impolite arrogant woman” in private emails in February 2017.

“Mitch McConnell can’t shut me up—and neither can John Kelly,” she wrote in a fundraising email to supporters on Thursday night, telling her version of an encounter with Kelly last year, after he had repeatedly dodged her calls and emails:

When I finally did get on the phone with John Kelly, I asked if he had an office number that I could use in the future to get in touch more quickly. He brushed me off, directing me to the main line listed on the Department of Homeland Security’s website (really). Even worse, he bizarrely insisted that I’d made the whole thing up and we’d never tried to reach him in the first place. I happened to be looking at all the emails between his staff and my staff when he said this, so I started reading them to him. He accused me again of making it all up.

My policy staffers were in the room. And to this day, I’ve never seen so many jaws drop in unison. It was one of the first times we saw “alternative facts” so up close and personal. And one of the first times we saw how truly dysfunctional the executive branch had become—and how quickly…

“Blah blah blah.” That’s all he had to say when he was called out for breaking the law and destroying lives. And I don’t know about John Kelly—but there are some men who can only hear “blah blah blah” whenever a woman’s talking. One of his aides wrote back, “Too bad Senate Majority Leader McConnell couldn’t order her to be quiet again!”

Clever. Well, Mitch McConnell can’t shut me up—and neither can John Kelly. (He can’t even get Donald Trump off Twitter, and as far as I can tell, that was his main job description when he took on the role of White House Chief of Staff).”

The message comes in response to private emails obtained by BuzzFeed, in which Kelly lambasted Warren after a terse conversation about the Trump administration’s travel ban. Warren accused the administration of shirking court orders issued by judges in Massachusetts and New York blocking the executive order that had banned citizens from seven countries from entering the United States. “She immediately began insulting our people accusing them of not following the court order, insulting and abusive behavior towards those covered by the pause, blah blah blah,” Kelley wrote in the email. 

The comment quickly went viral, with women tweeting their support of the senator:

According to Warren, the exchange occurred just a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell barred her from reading a letter by civil rights activist Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor. Warren also tweeted out her email response on Friday morning:

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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