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Story highlights

Warren is barred from participating in debate over nomination of Jeff Sessions

For Warren supporters, McConnell's line was a textbook case of mansplaining

(CNN) —  

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

That line, delivered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bar Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren from speaking, has become an instant classic and a powerful rallying cry for her supporters.

On Tuesday night, Warren had attempted to read a letter that Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., had written 30 years ago opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship. But Republicans accused Warren of violating Senate rules against impugning another senator and voted down party line to bar her from participating any further.

For Warren’s supporters, it was a textbook case of mansplaining followed by males silencing a woman.

On Twitter, McConnell’s line took off along with the hashtag #LetLizSpeak, which was trending Wednesday morning.

One woman tweeted that the line is “every woman’s epitaph.”

Another posted that the line was “providing a history of feminism.”

Others invoked imagery of protesters from the Women’s March in January, in which Warren had been a prominent participant.

Some posted photos of other famous women who refused to back down and persisted in their causes like Malala, Harriet Tubman and the fictional Princess Leia.

Did GOP just hand Warren a gift?

Unable to finish speaking on the Senate floor, Warren took to Facebook Live to read the letter, which had more than 3 million views by early Wednesday.

“They can shut me up, but they can’t change the truth,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon on “CNN Tonight.”

Bernice King, daughter of the Kings, wrote on Twitter: “Thank you @SenWarren for being the soul of the Senate during the #Sessions hearing. #LetCorettaSpeak #LetLizSpeak”

Warren is now forbidden from participating in the floor debate over Sessions’ nomination ahead of a confirmation vote expected Wednesday. The debate is expected to wrap up about 7 p.m. ET Wednesday when a final confirmation vote is planned.

The incident seemed to elevate President Donald Trump’s fiercest and most prominent critic in the Senate and turning her into a Democratic hero. What could have been an ordinary late-night partisan floor speech turned into a national story.

David Simon tweeted that McConnell’s line would be a great title for her autobiography, if not a line of T-shirts.

Hours later, the Internet already had that covered. Merchandise including T-shirts, and iPhone covers popped up for sale with the slogan, “Nevertheless she persisted.”

CNN’s Eric Bradner and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.