Tom Cotton Is Simply a Less Impulsive Trump

When John Kelly and Stephen Miller wanted some hardline anti-immigration congressmen (read: nativists) to join the White House meeting last Thursday where Senators Durbin and Graham had been invited to talk to the president about their bipartisan deal on DACA, one of the people they turned to was Senator Tom Cotton.

That’s the guy who is angling to become the next CIA director when/if Trump decides to get rid of Rex Tillerson and replace him with Mike Pompeo. If we were to grade Republican members of congress on how much they are kissing up to Trump these days, Cotton would get an A+. But just as we’ve seen with John Kelly, that isn’t a stretch for him. Cotton might not be as impulsive as Trump, but you’d be hard-pressed to find much daylight between the senator and the president.

Most of us became acquainted with Tom Cotton when he took the unprecedented step of wiring a letter to the mullahs in Iran in an attempt to undermine the Obama administration’s negotiations to end their nuclear weapons program. His alternative was to suggest that war with Iran would be no big deal.

On a more personal level, there was the case of Obama’s nominee to the Bahamas, Cassandra Butts. Cotton first put a hold on her confirmation over an issue he had with the secret service. But that was eventually cleared up and Cotton continued the hold. Frank Bruni got the story about why.

Butts confronted Cotton over his continued hold. “She told me that she once went to see [Sen. Tom Cotton] about it, and he explained that he knew that she was a close friend of Obama’s — the two first encountered each other on a line for financial-aid forms at Harvard Law School, where they were classmates — and that blocking her was a way to inflict special pain on the president.”

Cassandra Butts died two years, three months and 19 days after she was nominated, with Cotton’s hold still in place.

Other than lying about Trump’s shithole comments in the White House, here’s the latest from Arkansas’s junior senator.

Apparently having constituents contact his office because they disagree with their senator is annoying to Cotton. So he’s told them to cease and desist. Isn’t that lovely?

What we have is a senator who is willing to lie in support of nativist immigration policies, undermine negotiations in pursuit of war, hurt an individual in order to inflict pain on Obama and demonstrate his authoritarian tendencies by threatening constituents who don’t agree with him. Remind you of anyone?

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.