In the wake of a coordinated bomb scare targeting two former Presidents, a former Vice-president, Democratic officials and critics of President Trump, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says Americans should appeal to their better angels and he noted that heated political rhetoric is coming from all sides.
In an interview with Talk Business & Politics’ Roby Brock, Cotton said the news of bombs being mailed to former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Vice-president Joe Biden, and others is disturbing, but he cautioned for a full investigation to be completed before jumping to any conclusions.
“The use of violence to achieve political ends is an outrage, and it’s an offense against all of society, so we’re still gathering the facts. I know the FBI is investigating. I hope they find the perpetrator, and I hope that person is sent away to prison for as long as they can happen to set an example that no one should have to face these kind of threats,” Cotton said.
“You know, [Sen.] Susan Collins and [Defense Secretary] Jim Mattis shouldn’t face ricin being sent to them. A lot of senators and congressmen have had these kind of threats made against them. Last year, we had someone shoot [Rep.] Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the House. Luckily, they didn’t kill more, because there were two capitol police officers. This kind of violence should be denounced, and anyone who engages in it or even threatens to engage in it should be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law and sent away to prison for as long as possible,” he added.
Cotton said it was too soon to reach conclusions, declaring that early assumptions “based on the target of violence” can turn out to be wrong.
When asked about President Trump’s call for “unity” and “peace and harmony” at a rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday night and then the President tweeting Thursday morning that the “mainstream media” was causing the “anger we see in today’s society,” Cotton said the press was partially to blame.
“Well, some parts of the press, not you, do have some things to answer for. The New York Times just two days ago was running fan fiction about the assassination of the President,” Cotton said. “But in general, at a time like this, I think we should be focused on the things that bring us together, but also focused on the issues of political campaigns. It’s fine to have sharp disagreements on issues, but we should condemn this kind of violence, and we should move forward with the issues of the day.”
When pressed if the President deserves any blame for his rhetoric that some have attributed to stoking an atmosphere of violence, Cotton said other political figures and activists have been guilty of inappropriate calls to action.
“Well, you’ve also seen [Rep.] Maxine Waters saying that people should get in Republicans’ faces wherever they are, and people going up and yelling at [Sen.] Ted Cruz and his wife, and [Sen.] Mitch McConnell and his wife at restaurants or, as I said, [Rep.] Steve Scalise being shot last year. It’s probably best to try to keep the focus on the better angels of our nature. Even though we have sharp political differences, at the end, we’re all still one country,” he said.
Cotton’s interview, which includes his thoughts on Saudi Arabia and Russia, will air Sunday on Talk Business & Politics statewide.