Elizabeth Warren Had A Red-Hot Response To Being Called An “Impolite, Arrogant Woman”

by Morgan Brinlee
Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is speaking out about an insult White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was recently reported to have made about her last year after the two clashed over the president's travel ban. In an email to his top aide, Kelly reportedly called Warren an "impolite arrogant woman" and described a phone call he'd had with the senator as the "absolutely most insulting conversation I have ever had with anyone," according to BuzzFeed. But in her response to Kelly's "impolite arrogant woman" comment, Warren says not even the White House chief of staff can silence her.

According to Warren, Kelly's comment came after the two had butted heads over Trump's Muslim ban. In an email sent to reporter David Dayen — and later shared on Twitter — Warren explained that her office had been working to question the Department of Homeland Security over their policy of, as she put it, "illegally detaining Massachusetts residents (and their family members) at Boston Logan Airport." But Warren's office had a problem: Kelly, then the director of Homeland Security, apparently wouldn't return any of their calls or 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," Warren explained in her email. "He brushed me off, directing me to the main line listed on the Department of Homeland Security's website. 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."

The Massachusetts senator said she then read Kelly a few of the emails her staff had exchanged with his, but that he again accused her of making everything up.

"It was one of the first times we saw 'alternative facts' so up close and personal," Warren wrote of the call. "And one of the first times we saw how truly dysfunctional the executive branch had become — and how quickly."

But Warren reportedly wasn't going to be deterred from getting Kelly's direct number so easily. In fact, as Mitch McConnell would say, nevertheless she persisted. "I asked again for his number," Warren explained. "He hemmed and hawwed... Let's just say that's when the conversation really started getting awkward — and that I persisted longer than he did."

Warren said she didn't just get Kelly's direct office number, she got his cellphone number.

But Warren doesn't appear to have been hurt by Kelly's remarks about their call or her demeanor. Rather, she appeared to imply that he was perhaps a man "who can only hear 'blah blah blah' whenever a woman's talking." What's more, she moved to reclaim his disparaging remarks about her just as she turned McConnell's infamous attempt to silence her on the Senate floor into one of her campaign slogans.

"Was I tough on John Kelly in that phone call? You bet I was," Warren wrote. "Well, Mitch McConnell can't shut me up — and neither can John Kelly."