Democrat Steve Cohen Suggests White Male National Guardsmen Could Pose Threat To Biden’s Life

"75 percent are in the class that would be the large class of folks who might want to do something."
UNITED STATES - MAY 2: Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., brought a ceramic chicken to a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Rayburn Building in an effort to illustrate that Attorney General William Barr was scared to testify on Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Robert Mueller report on Thursday, May 2, 2019. Barr did not show up for the hearing citing displeasure with the format.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) suggested during an interview on Monday morning that in vetting the National Guard for potential threats against President-elect Joe Biden, officials should first look for supporters of President Donald Trump within the Guard’s ranks. He also specifically linked their presumed support for Trump to their skin color and gender.

Cohen, who is the chairman of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, made the remarks during a CNN interview with host Jim Sciutto.

“This morning I was reading about this on my Twitter account I guess, and people were reminding people of Anwar Sadat and Indira Gandhi who were killed by their own people,” Cohen said, referencing political leaders that have been assassinated by those who were tasked with defending them. “You know, I was thinking, the [National] Guard is 90 some odd percent I believe male, only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden. You got to figure that in the Guard which is predominately more conservative, that I see that on my social media and we know it. There’s probably not more than 25 percent of the people that are there protecting us who voted for Biden. The other 75 percent are in the class that would be the large class of folks who might want to do something. And there were military people and police who took oaths to defend the Constitution and to protect and defend who didn’t do it, who were in the insurrection. So, it does concern me, (inaudible)—”

“But, that’s far — to have voted for Trump does not make you an insider, that’s far different from being a threat of violence inside — whether the national guard or law enforcement. I’m curious, is there anything you’ve seen to substantiate just how broad this insider threat may be, if it exists,” CNN host Jim Sciutto responded.

“Absolutely not, Jim,” Cohen responded. “But you know, you draw a circle, the first circle is people who were for Trump and not for Biden as far as people who would be within the zone of folks who you’d be suspect of,” Cohen said. “That suspect group is large.”


Cohen received immediate pushback for his remarks, including from politicians and mainstream journalists.

“Dem Congressman believes some of our troops are a threat merely because they’re white & male,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wrote on Twitter. “Our military members dedicate their lives to serving & protecting our country. Anyone who questions their ability to do so based on ignorant assumptions such as these should be ashamed.”

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote: “Hmmm, does a Democratic congressman really want to suggest that if you voted for Trump you might be a seditionist? What happened to the idea that military people are professionals and do their jobs regardless of political preferences?”

Statistician Josh Jordan wrote: “This is horribly irresponsible. We heard this same argument about Barrett, and then when they heard cases @ the Supreme Court on the election she sided with the law. The National Guard is there to do a job, and while vetting is important we should not make such bad assumptions.”

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