Twitter reported Thursday afternoon on its blog that more than a million tweets were sent during Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s near-13 hour filibuster on the Senate floor Wednesday, placing the conversation almost on par with the 1.36 million tweets sent about President Barack Obama’s most recent State of the Union address.
Paul took to the Senate floor at approximately 11:47 a.m. EST to filibuster the Senate’s confirmation vote of White House adviser John Brennan as the new head of the CIA, pending an explanation from the White House as to whether it believes President Barack Obama could justifiably use domestic drone strikes to execute American citizens without due process.
“I will speak until I can no longer speak,” said Paul. “I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”
Paul’s filibuster lasted for 12 hours, 52 minutes and 11 seconds. He was not allowed to sit nor leave the leave the chamber during the entire process.
As the day wore on, the conversation on Twitter grew in support of the senator.
“Supporters tweeted with #standwithrand, while others joined the conversation with creative hashtags like #filiblizzard and #paulnighter”, wrote Bridget Coyne, a member of Twitter’s government team, on the blog.
“Over a million Tweets were sent yesterday about the filibuster,” she said.
At one point during the filibuster, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz read aloud from the Senate floor tweets about the filibuster to encourage Paul. The tweets were printed out on paper as a way to get around the Senate’s rules against having digital devices in the chamber.
Even though the White House stayed silent on the issue for the remainder of the evening, #StandWithRand was the top trending conversation on Twitter worldwide at around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate majority whip, also rejected on behalf of the Democratic Party a non-binding resolution “against the use of drones to execute American citizens on American soil.”