Sen. Cotton on Charlottesville, foreign affairs and the fall elections

by Roby Brock ( 576 views 

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., feels good about Republican chances to expand their majority in the U.S. Senate and contends that the GOP will hold the House, despite signs of Democratic progress. Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Cotton said that the electoral map favors Republicans in the Senate.

“We’ve got a lot of Democratic senators who are representing very Republican states and they’re simply, in my opinion, not reflecting the views of their voters in places like Missouri and North Dakota and Indiana,” Cotton said.

As for the House and the overall messaging between Republicans and Democrats, Cotton says the economy will be a stronger message than the change Democrats may propose.

“… [A]s voters begin to focus on the accomplishments we’ve had over the last 18 months, an economy that’s growing at a pace it hasn’t in 10 years, unemployment at a low that we haven’t seen in decades, wage growth for people who are out there working hard, I think that they’re going to begin to see that the Democrats don’t have much to offer besides abolishing our Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and banning plastic straws,” Cotton said.

When asked about potential Democratic messaging tied to the rising deficit and national debt, stagnant wage growth, higher gas and consumer prices and Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, Cotton said that message is inaccurate.

“We know what the economy is like if you try eight years of the Obama era policies, of higher taxes and more regulation. And we got very weak growth. People who are working hard every single day saw no wage growth. And we tried that, we don’t like it,” he said. “Now, we have people who are getting back in the workforce. Their wages are increasing. The economy is growing fast. Hiring is up. We have a president who’s not trying to start a trade war. What we’re trying to do is end a trade war that countries like China have been waging against us for years. So it’s a very clear choice between what we had for eight years and what we’ve seen over the last 18 months. I think that’s a choice that most Republicans are going to be happy to run on.”

Cotton’s interview touched a number of topics, including the Mueller investigation and foreign policy around Iran, North Korea and Russia. Here are a few highlights:

On the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran agreement: “We have a lot of allies who support the U.S. policy, Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, even in Europe, a lot of the smaller countries in Europe have said to me privately, as I know they’ve said to administration officials privately, they fully support the U.S. policy here. Obviously, we have some disagreement with countries like Germany and France, but even in those countries, their companies are now accepting the U.S. policy, as well.”

“Later this year, I expect to see sanctions imposed on Iranian oil, as well. All this is designed to put more pressure on Iran to try to change their behavior. And you’re starting to see it in Iran, as well. Their currency is suffering terrible inflation. People can’t buy basic foodstuffs. They’re protesting the regime in the streets. This is the policy the United States is pursuing to try to change the behavior of the ayatollahs in Tehran.”

On North Korea, which returned U.S. soldier remains, but remains a rogue nuclear nation: “We’re glad that those remains, many of which are believed to be American soldiers, some of which may be other nation’s soldiers, like South Korea or Australia or what have you, are coming back home. It’ll take many months, maybe years, to identify them, but I think that shows America’s commitment to always bring our soldiers back home, no matter where they’ve fallen or how long it’s been.”

“I don’t think these negotiations are going to go on forever. I don’t think they should go on forever. I think we’ll have a sense of whether Kim Jong-un is serious about the commitments that he’s made in the Singapore summit in probably three to six months, or so.”

On Russia and Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin: “Heads of states deal with each other directly. But here’s what I do know, the president has said, before and after, that Russia meddled in our elections and Russia has faced serious penalties for their actions, not just meddling in our elections, from closing diplomatic facilities and kicking out Russian spies that were used in those facilities… We have a bad relationship with Russia for one reason, and only one reason, because Vladimir Putin is an adversary of the United States.”

“Our policy, and it’s a policy that’s supported by both the administration and Congress, is to check Russian aggression… it continues to put a sense of boundaries on Vladimir Putin’s behavior.”

On the Mueller investigation: “I’ve said all along, what’s in the best interest of everyone, the president and the American people, is for the Mueller investigation to follow the facts wherever they may lead and reach whatever conclusion those facts take them to. Beyond that, I can’t comment on what’s happening in the investigation because it’s obviously happening behind closed doors under grand jury secrecy.”

Cotton’s appearance on Talk Business & Politics falls on the one year anniversary of the tragedy in Charlottesville, when white nationalists rallied and an opposing protestor was killed. In 2017, Cotton condemned the white supremacists as “contemptible little men who do not speak for what is just, noble, and best about America.”

Cotton said he still feels strongly on that front. He suggested that hate groups – on the left and right – are the “most extreme voices” in a country of 325 million people. He called on citizens to reject their views.

“We should express the true foundation of American exceptionalism, which is that we’re all created equal in the eyes of God. We’re endowed with rights that are given to us by God and that there’s no race or no group of people who are superior or inferior to each other,” Cotton said.

You can watch his full interview in the video below.