Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) called out a handful of Democrats on Thursday evening after the lawmakers expressed outrage over Attorney General William Barr’s decision to resume executions of federal prisoners.
The Department of Justice announced earlier in the day that the Bureau of Prisons was adopting an addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol making way “for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two-decade lapse, and bringing justice to victims of the most horrific crimes.”
Cotton initially responded to two members of the progressive group known as “The Squad,” Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), after they criticized the decision.
“[Pressley] defending an Aryan Nation white supremacist who brutally murdered an 8-year old girl [and] dumped their bodies in a bayou is a little surprising,” Cotton replied. “Clinton DOJ sought death penalty! Just shows had radical Dems are today.”
“[Omar] also leaping to the defense of Aryan Nation white supremacist. He is the heinous one,” Cotton said in response to Omar’s contention that the death penalty is “heinous.” “His three murder victims (one an 8-year old girl) were in Arkansas. Justice for their families [and] their memories is long overdue.”
“Thank you, AG Barr,” he added.
Along with the decision to resume federal executions, Barr revealed that he had directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates. The first inmate scheduled is Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group who had murdered a family of three, including an 8-year-old child.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette describes the event:
Prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice said Lee robbed and shot the victims with a stun gun, then covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou at Russelville. Authorities said the crimes were part of a scheme to steal a large cache of guns and $50,000 cash from [the victim] to use in the establishment of a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest.
Nevertheless, a host of 2020 Democratic contenders tweeted their opposition to reinstating the federal death penalty.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) called capital punishment “immoral and deeply flawed,” adding that “too many innocent people have been put to death.”
“Democrats have lost their minds!” Cotton responded.
“There’s enough violence in the world,” wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “The government shouldn’t add to it. When I am president, we will abolish the death penalty.”
“[Sanders] can’t even see the moral difference between death sentence after due process [and] brutal triple murder,” Cotton replied. “Disturbing.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) came out against the death penalty because the American criminal justice system “has a long history of mistakes when it comes to capital punishment – especially when it comes to Black and Brown people.”
“[Warren], I hate to break the news, but the first murderer facing execution is an Aryan Nation white supremacist,” Cotton said. “… Dems have lost their minds since the 1990s.”
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg also expressed his opposition to capital punishment on the grounds of racism. “Justice is not equally distributed in our country. Too often, race and geography determine who lives and who dies,” Buttigieg said. “We should be joining the ranks of modern nations and abolishing the death penalty – not expanding its reach.”
“[Buttigieg] apparently not aware this murderer is an Aryan Nation white supremacist who killed an 8-year-old Arkansas girl [and] her parents,” Cotton responded. “A jury of his peers – not race or geography – decided [he] should die for his heinous crimes. Much more than his victims got.”
“Most Americans have always believed that the death penalty is a just response to the most heinous crimes,” Cotton told The Daily Wire. “I commend the president and Attorney General Barr for reinstating the federal death penalty in order to carry out sentences imposed on five brutal murderers by juries of their peers.”
“After many years of unnecessary delay, justice will soon be done for these criminals’ many victims, including the Mueller family of Tilly, Arkansas,” he added.