Heedless elite

Cotton describes how political elites fail to grasp evolving alignments

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton used his keynote speech at Center of the American Experiment’s 2017 annual dinner to describe how the liberal elite and a “lynch mob media” are obscuring some genuine accomplishments in the early administration of President Donald Trump.

“The lynch mob media doesn’t give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt on anything, even the trivial things,” he told a sold-out event at the Minneapolis Hilton on June 17.

At 40, Cotton is the youngest member of the United States Senate. He was elected in 2014 when he defeated two-term incumbent Senator Mark Pryor. Cotton graduated from Harvard in just three years and went on to receive is J.D. from Harvard Law School. Shortly after 9/11, Cotton enlisted in the U.S. Army, shunning an offer to join the JAG Corps for front line duties. He deployed to Baghdad in May 2006 and then to Afghanistan in 2008.

Cotton placed the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch atop the list of Trump’s accomplishments, also evoking the GOP Senate leadership’s ability to overcome 15 months of “Democratic obstructionism.”

Other accomplishments on his list: Illegal border crossings are down by two-thirds over last year, he said. “That’s without a single foot of new wall or fencing being constructed. Why? Because Donald Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly have sent the word to our neighbors, ‘you will not be allowed in this country if you come here illegally.’”

Trump’s decision to launch 60 missiles into Syria after Bashar al-Assad deployed chemical weapons, Cotton said, marked a stark contrast to Barack Obama’s failure to enforce his “red line” in 2013. “Trump didn’t dither and dally; he didn’t fret,” Cotton said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ended eight years of soft-on-crime policy by directing U.S. Attorneys nationwide “to throw the book at the criminals that are poisoning our streets and killing our children with heroin and fentanyl,” Cotton said. “He’s also saying no more sanctuary cities.”

“The lynch mob media and the democrats in Washington treat Donald Trump as if he’s some kind of invasive species in the swamp,” Cotton said. “And maybe he is. He is certainly not native to that habitat. He’s changing the environment. You could say he’s a little exotic. Maybe the most important thing is he is imperiling those creatures who are at the top of the food chain in the swamp.”

On top of this, the elites in Washington and Manhattan fail to discern that their ridicule of Trump can easily backfire, according to Cotton. “They make fun of the way he talks, they make fun of his hair, they make fun of his long tie, they make fun of the fact that he puts ketchup on his steaks, they make fun of him for liking McDonald’s. But you know out here in places like Minnesota and Arkansas, a lot of people hear that—even if they don’t share his tastes in hair, they sense that the same people making fun of Donald Trump look down on them, and make fun of the way they talk and the way they look.”

Cotton added: “It’s important that both parties—all of us—realize that whatever you think of Donald Trump, whatever you make of his presidency, that there are political and cultural forces behind his victory and behind the rising tide of populism that have to be addressed.”