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Sen. Cotton Calls Out Different Social Distancing Standards During Pandemic Versus Riots

   DailyWire.com
UNITED STATES - MARCH 10: Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., arrives in the Capitol for the Senate Republicans lunch on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen Tom Cotton (R-AR) called out the different standards that were set during the coronavirus pandemic versus the standards that the media and some state and local-level officials have accepted during the protests that have morphed into riots across the nation over the past couple of weeks.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, we had mayors and governors upset by the lockdown, upset by the shutdown,” Fox News host Maria Bartiromo said on Sunday. “And now we have got all of these people on the ground protesting, many of whom are peaceful. But is there a worry that they’re going to get COVID, being so close to each other?”

“Well, I hope that’s not the case,” Cotton responded. “We won’t know for a week or two, given the incubation period of the virus.”

“But I think we can say that the lockdowns and the most extreme form are going to have to be finished, whether de facto or not,” Cotton continued. “You just can’t expect people to continue to voluntarily comply with what some of these mayors and governors are saying.”

“It cannot be the case that thousands of Americans can exercise their First Amendment rights on the street, while dozens of Americans cannot exercise their First Amendment rights in churches,” Cotton continued. “It cannot be the case that you can be arrested for opening a business, but not for looting one.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

MARIA BARTIROMO, SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES ANCHOR: Controversy over Senator Tom Cotton’s New York Times op-ed this past week, which was on violence in protests across the country.

His piece Wednesday titled “Send in the Troops” called for an overwhelming show of force and sparked an online revolt at The New York Times.

The Times issued a statement after it published it, saying this: “We have examined the piece and the process leading up to the Republican — the publication. This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an op-ed that did not meet our standards.”

Here to react right now is the senator himself, Senator Tom Cotton of the Armed Services, Intelligence and Banking, and Economic committees.

Good to see you, sir. Thank you so much for joining me, Senator.

What happened with The Times’ op-ed? Was it rushed?

(LAUGHTER)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Hardly, Maria.

I will say, my op-ed didn’t meet the Times’ standards. It far exceeded their standards, which is usually sophomoric, left-wing drivel.

But here’s what happened behind the scenes. Last weekend, we saw rioting, rooting, really anarchy and insurrection on our streets. In Washington, D.C., seven days ago, a famous church was torched, memorials were desecrated, stores were looted.

And I said simply last Monday that, if the local police are overwhelmed by the numbers of these insurrectionists, if they need support from the National Guard, or, if necessary, as a last resort, federal troops, under the Insurrection Act, then that’s exactly what has to happen.

Now, fortunately, that’s what happened in most places over the course of the last week. So, what we saw yesterday was people exercising their First Amendment rights to demonstrate and to protest.

But, in the meantime, we published that exact argument in The New York Times. The New York Times editorial page editor and owner defended it in public statements. But then they totally surrendered to a woke child mob from their own newsroom that apparently gets triggered if they’re presented with any opinion contrary to their own, as opposed to telling…

BARTIROMO: Yes. It’s…

COTTON: … the woke children in their newsroom, this is the workplace, not a social justice seminar on campus.

BARTIROMO: Well, it’s unbelievable, because I know that it went back and forth three or four times in terms of edits and reedits. So, obviously, they have had a process with which to go.

I like what Howie Kurtz said. Howie Kurtz said, look, this is such a window into how biased The New York Times is, when — they have just totally exposed themselves. The opinion page is just that, an opinion page.

COTTON: Yes, that’s exactly right, Maria.

We have published op-eds in The New York Times before. It was the exact same process. And, again, the senior leaders of The New York Times publicly defended the decision to publish the op-ed after this woke mob began to rise up.

It was only after another day of infighting that they finally backpedaled. They still haven’t identified any facts that are wrong in the op-ed. They haven’t identified what was so rushed about this process.

They have only prostrated themselves in front of their young children who are acting like children…

BARTIROMO: Yes.

COTTON: … who are acting like kids in a social justice seminar, as exposed — as opposed to acting like grownups in the workplace.

BARTIROMO: Well, I want to get on to China.

But, first, let me get a word on the situation taking place right now. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had mayors and governors upset by the lockdown, upset by the shutdown. And now we have got all of these people on the ground protesting, many of whom are peaceful

But is there a worry that they’re going to get COVID, being so close to each other?

COTTON: Well, I hope that’s not the case. We won’t know for a week or two, given the incubation period of the virus.

But I think we can say that the lockdowns and the most extreme form are going to have to be finished, whether de facto or not. You just can’t expect people to continue to voluntarily comply with what some of these mayors and governors are saying.

It cannot be the case that thousands of Americans can exercise their First Amendment rights on the street, while dozens of Americans cannot exercise their First Amendment rights in churches. It cannot be the case that you can be arrested for opening a business, but not for looting one.

BARTIROMO: Unbelievable.

Real quick, before we go onto China, I wanted to mention that the number of people who have written op-eds for The New York Times, we have got one from the Taliban. I don’t think there was any controversy around this, the headline here, “What We, the Taliban, Want.”

That was an op-ed in The Times. There was also one from Putin. There was one years back from Hitler.

(LAUGHTER)

COTTON: Yes, I don’t remember all the woke staffers at The New York Times rising up in arms whenever they published the Taliban op-ed just a few months ago.

It just goes to show you the moral rot inside some of our media and academic institutions, that they don’t get outraged about the Taliban, but they do get outraged about conservative opinion.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

All right, let me move onto China, because we had more information and new information this week. China is now — forces, Communist Party forces, are on the border facing off against forces in India.

Did they invade India? They have militarized the South China Sea. And, of course, they are overreaching on Hong Kong.

Your reaction to the new developments coming out of the CCP this past week in terms of their military?

COTTON: Sure, Maria.

There’s been many aggressive steps out of the Chinese Communist Party over the last few weeks. They have been attacking fishing boats from other nations in the South China Sea. We all saw that they passed a law that cracked down on Hong Kong, in violation of their basic international commitments.

And, yes, in effect, they did invade Indian territory. Now, the border between China and India has always been murky in many places. But Chinese forces, no doubt, have taken territory that otherwise is claimed by India, significantly heightening tensions there.

Now, I commend the president for taking bold action, for example, about Hong Kong, withdrawing Hong Kong’s favored trade status, and refusing to allow Chinese students who are affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army to continue studying in our most advanced laboratories.

There’s a lot more, though, that we can continue to do to China’s ambitions and to prevent further Chinese aggression.

BARTIROMO: There is also news on Huawei, a real pushback.

You know, a week ago, we saw the English-speaking allies get together and write a memo, a press release, denouncing what China has done to Hong Kong. That includes Canada, U.K., Australia.

I’m wondering where Europe is. The European nations, like Germany, France, Italy, are they still using Huawei Telecom? And tell us what happened this past week in terms of Huawei and how it’s spying on people across the world that have infrastructure in place that’s Huawei.

COTTON: Yes.

So, one very big step the Trump administration has taken is to say that American can’t — technology can’t be used in foreign-manufactured semiconductor chips that then are bound for mainland China. This closed the loophole from a Trump administration decision last year to prevent American-made chips from going to China.

And that decision alone to cut off American technology to foreign semiconductor manufacturers could reverse a lot of the Huawei decisions you have seen in our allies. Germany has said they may no longer be able to use Huawei technology. I know the United Kingdom is reconsidering it as well. That’s a very good thing.

BARTIROMO: And I know that you have got legislation right now proposing $43 billion to beef up the U.S. military in the Pacific, partly for this reason.

Senator, I would love to hear more about that when you come back.

Great to have you this morning, sir. Thank you, sir.

COTTON: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: We will see you soon, Senator Tom Cotton.

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