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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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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