9 February 2017
Daines was the designated hit man in a Rule 19 ambush
Some Democrats and progressives are arguing that Sen. Daines’ Rule 19 takedown of Sen. Warren was sexism. According to this theory, Daines disdains women, especially assertive women like Warren. When presented the opportunity to slap her down for being uppity, to took it, invoking Rule 19 to justify his action.
But according to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, that’s not what happened. Instead, Daines was simply the presiding officer when the Republicans executed an ambush:
“They were waiting to Rule 19 someone and they specifically targeted Elizabeth,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I think because she’s effective.”
It was a partisan cheap shot, not an independent act of sexism.
Nor was it an abuse of the First Amendment as some have suggested. The Constitution gives both chambers of Congress the power to adopt their own rules of debate. But it was an interpretation of the rules that was intended to prevent a full discussion of a nominee’s fitness to serve in the cabinet, and as such it was an unwise constraint on the Senate’s ability to exercise its duty to advise and consent on nominations.