Leaked emails from the White House chief of staff reveal sexist comments about Elizabeth Warren

Unfortunately, sexism is still a huge problem in American politics, on both sides of the aisle. And recently, a leaked email from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has drawn fire for sexist remarks about Senator Elizabeth Warren.

On October 11th, BuzzFeed News reported on the February 2017 email exchange, which took place between Kelly—who was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the time—and Kevin Carroll, a senior counselor for the same department. In the exchange, Kelly referred to a phone conversation he’d had with Warren about the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban, calling it the “most insulting conversation I have ever had with anyone.”

"What an impolite arrogant woman," Kelly wrote about Warren. "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."

As USA Today reported, in January 2017 Warren was one of several elected officials who opposed the first iteration of the travel ban. She even attended a protest at Boston Logan International Airport, where she called the ban “illegal.” BuzzFeed News notes that, at the time, the Massachusetts senator was trying to contact Kelly about her constituents who had been barred from entering the U.S. as a result of the ban. These efforts led to the conversation that Kelly called “insulting.”

In an October 12th Twitter thread, Warren told her side of the story, writing that Kelly had been avoiding calls from her about the travel ban and refused to give her his office phone number. Eventually, she got his cell phone number and called him to confront him about the ban.

"Was I tough on John Kelly in that phone call? You bet I was," Warren tweeted. "Apparently he thought I was an 'impolite arrogant woman.' 'Blah blah blah'– that’s all he had to say when he was called out for breaking the law and destroying lives."

She continued by tweeting, “Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump can’t shut me up–and neither can John Kelly.” And she concluded by addressing the sexism in Kelly’s remarks.

It’s disappointing that Kelly would call Warren an “impolite arrogant woman” for simply trying to advocate for her constituents. As Warren noted in her tweets, some men really do hear “blah blah blah” whenever a woman tries to raise her voice. But we’re heartened to know that Warren and women leaders like her will continue to speak up, no matter what men in power have to say.

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