Sen. Tom Cotton responded to the backlash that began after ‘The New York Times’ published an op-ed authored by him in which he called for the military to stand by as the nation is restored to order.
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS: So we continue to learn more about this U.S. Navy veteran coming home. We’re actually getting more information as we speak. We’ll have more on that Iranian scientist coming home in just a moment. I want to move on, Senator, for the time being, to your op-ed that has continued to get a lot of reaction in “The New York Times,” Send in the Troops, was the headline that you wrote. The sub-headline, The nation must restore order. The military stands ready. There has even been reaction from “New York Times” staffers, an online revolt if you will. One of those staffers, one of those sent out a tweet, this is a journalist from “The Times,” saying running this, your op-ed Senator, put black “New York Times” staffers in danger and solidarity with my colleagues who agree. What do you have to say on all of that this morning, Senator? SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AK): Well, I think it, once again, exposes the hypocrisy of all these woke progressives who claim to defend liberal values, but as soon as they’re presented with an opinion with which they disagree they go into meltdown, they demand censorship, they refer to words as violence, they call for firings at their newspaper. I will commend “The New York Times” leadership. You know, we obviously don’t agree on very much, but in this case, they ran my opinion piece, with which they disagreed, and they’ve stood up to the woke progressive mob in their own newsroom. So, I commend for them for that. But the bottom line is, four — on a four to one measure – Americans support using the National Guard to put down riots and looters. By a two to one measure, they support using the active-duty troops if necessary. That’s the simple case I made in this op-ed. That there is both a legal basis and a long historical precedent for using our National Guard and if necessary, federal troops to put down domestic violence. And in fact, it is the constitutional duty of the federal government to protect the states from this kind of insurrectionist violence. It happened in 1957 in Little Rock – at Little Rocks central to desegregate against our racist Democratic governor. It happened in 1968 in Washington D.C. and Baltimore and Chicago. It happened in 1992 in Los Angeles. These woke progressives have not engaged with any of these arguments or any of these historic examples. They are simply throwing a temper tantrum. HENRY: Senator, on the other hand, it doesn’t sound like it’s just woke progressives as you call them who are against some of the president’s policies. His own Defense Secretary, as you know, Mark Esper yesterday said he is not in favor of invoking the Insurrection Act. And has real concerns about using active-duty US troops in American cities. React to that first of all, but what’s your advice to this president? COTTON: Sure. HENRY: You’ve had his ear on military and defense matters. There’s a lot of chatter, as you know now in Washington, that Mark Esper might be out of a job soon. COTTON: Sure Ed. So as I say in my opinion piece in The New York Times, using – invoking the Insurrection Act and using federal troops is not a first resort. It’s the last resort. But in cases, where local law enforcement is outnumbered and overwhelmed and where the National Guard is not sufficient, the Insurrection Act provides the legal basis with many historic precedents for the president to protect our citizens. Now ultimately, that’s not a decision for the Secretary of Defense to make. It’s not a decision for a senator to make. It’s a decision for the president to make. And what the president needs are the forces that are mobilized or activated – ready to be deployed and the advice and information to assess situations on the ground. I know that if we can do that with the National Guard and local law enforcement that’s exactly what the president intends to do.