The Senator Who Saw the Coronavirus Coming

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While others slept, Tom Cotton was warning anyone who would listen that the coronavirus was coming for America.

On January 22, one day before the Chinese government began a quarantine of Wuhan to contain the spread of the virus, the Arkansas senator sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar encouraging the Trump administration to consider banning travel between China and the United States and warning that the Communist regime could be covering up how dangerous the disease really was. That same day, he amplified his warnings on Twitter and in an appearance on the radio program of Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade.

At the time, the Senate impeachment trial was dominating the news cycle. The trial, which lasted from January 16 to February 5, had even blotted out coverage of the Democratic presidential primary in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. When the first classified briefing on the virus was held in the Senate on January 24, only 14 senators reportedly showed up.

Cotton’s public and private warnings became more urgent that last week of January. In a January 28 letter to the secretaries of state, health and human services, and homeland security, he noted that “no amount of screening [at airports] will identify a contagious-but-asymptomatic person afflicted with the coronavirus” and called for an immediate evacuation of Americans in China and a ban on all commercial flights between China and the United States.

Cotton first spoke to President Trump about the virus the next day. The Arkansas Gazette reported that he missed nearly three hours of the impeachment trial while he was discussing the matter with Trump-administration officials. The outbreak was “the biggest and the most important story in the world,” he said in a Senate hearing that week.

What tipped the senator off to the true nature of the threat? Why was he the first and the loudest voice in Congress to sound the alarm about the looming pandemic?

In an interview with National Review, Cotton is quick to point out that he doesn’t have a background in science or public health, but he does have two eyes. As a long-time China hawk, he found his interest piqued early on by reports “primarily from East Asian news sources.”

“Two things struck me about China’s response,” he says. “First their deceit and their dishonesty going back to early December. And second, the extreme draconian measures they had taken. By the third week of January, they had more than 75 million people on lockdown. They were confined to their homes and apartments, otherwise they were arrested. In some cases, the front doors of those buildings were welded shut. All schools had shut down. Hong Kong had banned flights from the mainland. [These are] the kind of extreme, draconian measures that you would only take in a position of power in China if you were greatly worried about the spread of this virus.”

On January 31, the president announced a ban on entry to foreign travelers who had been in China in the previous two weeks, while allowing Americans and permanent residents to continue to travel back and forth between the two countries. The measure was not as stringent as Cotton’s call for a ban on all commercial flights, but Cotton points out that the president “did not have many advisers encouraging him to shut down travel.” Advisers who were supportive tended to be national-security aides, he adds, while “most of his economic and public-health advisers were ambivalent at best about the travel ban.”

Of course, while the travel restriction may have bought the United States time, that time was largely squandered by the catastrophic failure of the CDC and FDA to ramp up testing for the coronavirus in the United States.

In phone calls and meetings in early February, Cotton says, he encouraged the administration “to be very aggressive and very flexible when it came to testing and diagnostic protocols. One consistent thing I had seen in the literature from past outbreaks is that the FDA and especially the CDC is unfortunately somewhat slow to act in these circumstances.”

“I did discuss that with the president,” Cotton adds. “I discussed it with Jared Kushner. I discussed it a lot with Robert O’Brien, the national-security adviser,” and O’Brien’s deputy, Matthew Pottinger.

“The CDC should not have acted like know-it-all bureaucrats who had the only medical and scientific expertise to develop tests. We have lots and lots of very capable labs all around the country,” Cotton says. “The FDA should not put all of its eggs in the CDC basket. . . . They were slow to use their emergency-use authorization.” In a January 26 appearance on Face the Nation, Cotton called on the FDA to expedite approval for testing to state and local governments.

“The bureaucracy just didn’t move as fast as it could have,” he says. “Dr. Fauci said it’s not the president’s fault. It would have happened to any other president. But it was a lost opportunity, given the time the president bought everyone with the travel [restriction].”

Does the president ultimately bear responsibility for the failures at the CDC and FDA? “He is the president, and it’s always the president’s job to push the bureaucracy when they’re moving too slowly,” Cotton says. “But sometimes you have to push very, very hard.”

Where are we now and where do we go from here in the fight against the coronavirus? “You can’t have a virus rampaging through society and expect the economy to open up, but you can’t have economic collapse and expect our health-care system to continue to work,” Cotton says. “You have to get the virus under control before you gradually start reopening things like white-collar work and manufacturing capacity and low-density retail and ultimately high-density retail.”

The things the country must focus on over the next few weeks, he says, are building up production capacity for “rapid testing, respirator masks, [and] thermometer guns,” getting “personnel trained on contact tracing,” and developing “procedures and even laws at the local level for individual mandatory quarantines” for those infected with the virus.

Cotton notes that there is still a lot that’s unclear about the virus: It could be far more infectious with a lower fatality rate than has been reported for instance. But then again, “They don’t turn the Javits Center into a field hospital for the flu. They don’t bring in ice trucks to back up the morgue for the flu.”

“Using your own two eyes to see what’s happening in our hospitals,” Cotton says, is “the real acid-test for how serious this virus is.”

This article has been emended since its initial publication.

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Exclusive—Tom Cotton Plans to Back Veterans for Congress in GOP Bid to Retake House: ‘We Will Win Back the Majority’

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by Matthew Boyle | 18 Feb 2020

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has launched a new effort to support fellow veterans in bids for Congress as part of an organized campaign designed to help Republicans secure their U.S. Senate majority and retake the majority in the U.S. House in November.

Cotton, a U.S. Army veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan before his election in 2012 to the U.S. House, told Breitbart News exclusively that he is rolling out a series of endorsements of veterans running in key battleground House districts nationwide this year.

Cotton, in 2014, won a U.S. Senate seat in Arkansas, and he is running for re-election this year unopposed, as the only Democrat to file against him later dropped out of the race, leaving Democrats with no candidate—and Cotton with lots of free time and extra campaign resources to help Republicans nationally.

He intends to help veterans get their campaigns off the ground in order to secure the GOP majority in the U.S. Senate and recapture the majority in the U.S. House for Republicans.

“In many cases the veterans I’ve endorsed or will be endorsing are first-time candidates as I was in 2012,” Cotton said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Monday afternoon. “I want to provide effective coaching and mentoring to them the way some previous office-holders provided to me in 2012, and help them understand the way they can translate their record of service into the campaign setting. So, for instance, all Americans respect veterans—they respect veterans for their service, and in many cases, like in Jason Church, their many sacrifices, like both of his legs in Afghanistan. That is a great door-opener for them. There’s almost no voter in America who will not listen to that veteran on the campaign trail because of that veteran’s record of service, but then they have to translate that into what they hope to accomplish for Americans in Congress just like they did overseas. So, of course, I am focused on Republican veterans and Republican veterans who share some of my priorities, like controlling our immigration system, getting serious about crime and law and order, trying to stand up to adversaries like China, all of things which are usually not going to be in a veteran’s record of service in the military. So, what I’ve done with some of these veterans and what I’ll continue to do with them is to share some of my hard-won experiences in 2012 as a first-time candidate so they can maybe learn it the easy way. Then, there’s other things too—of course I’ll give them maximum financial support from my political action committee, I raise money for them online and from loyal conservative donors around the country who want to support veteran candidates, and in many cases over the course of the next nine months or so I intend to go campaign with them too.”

Cotton has previously backed other veterans like Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), as well as Jason Church, who is running in a special election on Tuesday in Wisconsin. But now he intends to expand that effort as part of a broader push to help the GOP solidify its U.S. Senate majority in the 2020 campaign, as well as giving Republicans a chance at retaking the House majority from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats.

“So I’ve supported a number of veterans in the past, like Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin in the 2016 cycle and Dan Crenshaw in last cycle and Jason Church in the special election in Wisconsin tomorrow,” Cotton said in the interview. “Given that I don’t have a Democratic opponent in Arkansas this cycle, I wanted to devote more of my effort to helping to elect veterans up and down the ballot for the House and for the Senate as well. Veterans have very strong assets, they are well-respected by our fellow citizens, and they also just need a little help as first-time candidates to learn how to be effective candidates and learn how to run an effective campaign and how to translate their record of service in the military to how they can serve their states and their districts in Congress. So, I’m very excited to be endorsing these candidates like I’ve done in the past, and there will be more to come in the future.”

The first four conservative veterans that Cotton is endorsing in key House districts in 2020 are August Pfluger in Texas’s 11th congressional district, Wesley Hunt in Texas’s 7th congressional district, Esther Joy King in Illinois’ 17th congressional district, and Dan Driscoll in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district.

Pfluger, an Air Force veteran, flew 300 combat hours as an F-22 Raptor fighter pilot against the Islamic State. King served as a JAG officer in the Army Reserves. Driscoll, a U.S. Army veteran, was a Cavalry Scout Platoon Leader in Iraq. Hunt, another Iraq veteran and West Point graduate, was an Apache helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army.

Texas’s 11th and North Carolina’s 11th are both deep-red GOP districts represented by retiring GOP congressmen—Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) is retiring from Texas, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) is retiring from North Carolina—but the other two districts are key battleground districts in which the House majority could be decided.

While Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton did win Texas’s 7th district over President Donald Trump in 2016, it is a traditionally GOP district. It was represented by Republicans for decades, dating back to 1967, and is rated by the Cook Political Report to have a Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of R plus 7. Nonetheless, freshman Democrat Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) won the seat in the 2018 midterm elections—but Republicans, including Cotton, given his endorsement of Hunt, think they can win it back in 2020.

Illinois’ 17th district, meanwhile, is one of the 30 vaunted Trump-won districts currently represented by a Democrat. Trump became the first GOP presidential candidate in decades to win the district, defeating Clinton by just under a percentage point. The district, however, is represented by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)—a Democrat who happens to also lead the Democrats’ congressional campaign and fundraising arm, known as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

While this slate of four endorsements represents his first round of veteran candidates Cotton is backing in 2020, Cotton told Breitbart News he intends to back many more—and believes strong veterans could be the key to retaking the House majority for Republicans in November.

“The path to the House majority runs through the so-called ‘Trump districts,’ where Donald Trump won a congressional district that is currently held by a Democrat,” Cotton told Breitbart News. “And, in a majority of those districts we have veterans running for the Republican Party. Again, I think being a veteran is a door-opener unlike anything else in American politics. And, those veterans in those Trump districts are uniquely positioned to appeal to some of those voters who probably stayed home in 2018 and allowed the Democrat to win those districts. Those voters are going to be coming out in droves in 2020 to vote for President Trump, and I think we’ll have veterans in many of those districts who will help flip those districts and ultimately win back the House as well.”

There are currently 30 districts represented by Democrats that Trump won in 2016, and another 20 or so that Clinton won that Republicans believe are competitive. To retake the House majority in 2020, Republicans need to flip a net 18 seats from the Democrats to GOP control—17 if they win the upcoming special election in California’s 25th congressional district, a battleground that Clinton won in 2016 but Republicans lost in 2018 before now former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) was forced to resign in disgrace over a sex scandal.

Many establishment media outlets do not believe the House majority is in play in 2020, but Cotton thinks they are all wrong—as they have been many times before.

“Yet again, the establishment media could not be more wrong. In the winter of 2010, and in the winter of 2018, the establishment media said of course the House is not in play, yet by the fall they were mistaken,” Cotton told Breitbart News. “They are mistaken once again. The House is very much in play, and the path to the majority runs through Trump districts—the majority in which we can have a veteran on the ballot in November. That’s one of the ways we will win back the majority to make sure we don’t see the kind of wasted year that we’ve seen over the last year from the Nancy Pelosi-led House of Representatives.”

Cotton has already, as he mentioned earlier in this interview, endorsed another veteran in Jason Church in Wisconsin’s 7th congressional district GOP primary in the special election. That is a district Republicans intend to hold in the special election called after now former Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) stepped down last year. Church lost both of his legs in an IED attack while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

Cotton has also already endorsed another veteran, retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. Bolduc is running for the GOP nomination for a shot at taking on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in November. Bolduc retired at the rank of Brigadier General after a 36-year career in the U.S. Army.

Overall, look for Cotton to aggressively engage on the 2020 campaign trail with GOP candidates who served their country in uniform before running for office—a strategy he thinks could undercut the strategy that put the Democrats in the majority in the House last year.

“In many of the districts where the Democrats made their majority in 2018, they did in fact run veterans,” Cotton told Breitbart News. “I think that proves my point that Americans are willing to give an audience to veteran candidates, even first-time unknown candidates, especially against establishment traditional career politicians. It just so happens that many of those Democrat veterans, I strongly disagree with their political views—whether it’s supporting the most grotesque kinds of partial-birth abortion or trying to take away the guns of law-abiding Americans or having open borders for America—but it is an example of the point I’m making, which is the American people are willing to give any veteran of any political stripe at least an audience to make the case about how they will improve the lives of voters once they’re in political office, just like they did when they risked their lives while they were in the military. That’s why I think it’s so important to put this effort in this cycle into trying to recruit and coach more veteran candidates as Republicans.”

Source: Read online at Breitbart…

Tom Cotton: Justice Served

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by Tom Cotton and Leslie Rutledge Special to the Democrat-Gazette | September 16, 2019

Resuming death penalty right thing

This summer, President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr resumed the federal death penalty for five brutal murderers, including a white supremacist who murdered a family of three right here in Arkansas.

The federal death penalty has been in a de facto moratorium since 2003. Attorney General Barr’s announcement will end this misguided moratorium and align the federal capital-crimes process more closely with the policy of our state and many others.

Though we understand some Arkansans have principled objections to the death penalty, we believe the ultimate punishment is warranted for the most heinous murderers. Capital punishment can help bring closure for victims’ families, deter other would-be murderers, and express the moral outrage of our society for the most atrocious crimes.

Consider the case of Daniel Lewis Lee, one of the five convicted murderers whose execution will now proceed. Lee belonged to a white-supremacist group called the Aryan People’s Revolution. According to court filings, “the group believed that whites were the chosen race, [and] that Jews were the devil’s children and should die.”

After a crime spree, Lee and a companion robbed the home of William Mueller in northern Pope County. It was early January 1996, just a few weeks after Christmas. When Mueller returned home with his young wife and their 8-year-old daughter, Lee and his companion overpowered them. But it wasn’t enough to take their loot and leave.

They duct-taped the family’s hands and tortured them, repeatedly shocking them with stun guns until they passed out. Then they duct-taped their heads in plastic garbage bags, suffocating them to death. After murdering the Mueller family in cold blood, they tied rocks to their corpses and dumped them in a bayou. Lee later joked that he had put the Muellers “on a liquid diet.”

For such a barbaric crime, simple justice demands that Daniel Lewis Lee and murderers like him face the ultimate punishment, which truly fits the crime. Further, the death penalty in this case warns criminals to stop short of murder, lest they face execution. The death penalty also ends a horrific and prolonged period of pain and justice delayed for a victim’s loved ones–in a case where Lee doesn’t even deny his guilt.

In 1999, 12-year-old Andi Brewer–a beautiful and joyful young girl–was raped and murdered by Karl Roberts of Polk County. Roberts confessed to the crime. Even his attorneys don’t claim that he’s innocent. Yet 20 years later, Andi’s family is still waiting for justice. Her mother, state Rep. Rebecca Petty, was shocked to learn that Roberts was even selling prison art from death row while his case dragged on. Resuming federal executions will relieve at least a few families of the pain that Representative Petty has endured for years.

A decent society must respond decisively to crime in order to preserve law and order. For the most severe crimes, where innocent life has been stolen, even life in prison can be an inadequate punishment. As we know from too many cases, prisoners can escape (or get parole), murder prison guards, or enjoy from behind bars some of life’s pleasures that their innocent victims will never enjoy again.

The decision to reinstate the federal death penalty will ensure that justice is served in five terrible, bloody cases. It will reassure law-abiding citizens that our government has the will to protect them from violence. And it will remind criminals that justice may be delayed, even for years, but it cannot be avoided.

That’s why we welcome the decision by the president and Attorney General Barr.

Source: Read online at Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Tom Cotton Grills Facebook on Financial Blacklisting, ‘Libra’ Currency

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by Lucas Nolan | 16 Jul 2019

During a recent hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) grilled a representative from Facebook about online censorship, financial blacklisting, and its Libra currency. He questioned what the progressive tech giant would do when a consumer wished to use Libra to subscribe to Breitbart News as opposed to a left-wing publication.

During a recent Senate Banking Committee hearing, Sen. Tom Cotton grilled Facebook executive David Marcus over the company’s new Libra cryptocurrency and how it could be used as a tool for censorship. Cotton noted that Silicon Valley, in general, tends to lean to the left and questioned how conservatives can ensure that their rights are protected when using Facebook’s new currency.

Cotton addressed Marcus stating: “Mr. Marcus, thank you for your appearance and your testimony. Your CEO in testimony before Congress referred to Silicon Valley as, “an extremely left-wing place.” That’s why so many center-right voices have concerns about censorship on platforms like Facebook but also Twitter, Google and so forth. I worry about the possibility that a digital wallet and digital currency like Libra could extend that into the payment system.”

He continued: “There is reason to worry about that because Democrat members of this committee have made it a habit of contacting major financial institutions and encouraging them not to do business with say, gun-manufacturers or with government contractors who serve ICE or the Customs and Border Patrol. What safe-guards, if any, will Libra have to ensure that you treat on par people with views that may be disfavored in an extremely left-wing place like Silicon Valley?”

Marcus responded by stating: “I appreciate your question Senator, and you’re right that Silicon Valley tends to have a bias, but I want to reaffirm that Facebook is a technology company where ideas across the political spectrum are welcome and treated equally. And as far as Libra and the Libra wallet is concerned, we wanted to ensure that people, as long as they have a legitimate use of the product, can do what they want with their money. Of course, there are some restrictions and regulated products, but my commitment to you is we will be thoughtful in writing those policies, and we will be happy to follow up with you when we get closer to finalizing those policies.”

Cotton argued that Facebook’s promise doesn’t seem like much of a guarantee stating: “So that doesn’t sound like much safe-guard to me, other than a commitment before you come into pressure from Democrats—and just wait until tomorrow when you go before the House Financial Services Committee. If you think the Democrats in this committee have hounded banks, wait until you see what you’re in for over there.”

Cotton then pointed out that Facebook, which already has a history of censorship against conservatives, will face pressure to financially blacklist conservative organizations like Christian bakers and Breitbart News when consumers want to use the Libra currency with such organizations.

“So a federally-licensed firearms dealer wants to sell firearms at a gun show,” Cotton continued: “or maybe a neighbor wants to sell a shotgun to his neighbor, or a Christian baker wants to practice his faith when he bakes his cake, or someone wants to pay a subscription to, say, Breitbart instead of the New York Times—what confidence can people who have center-right views have that Libra is going to be available to them on an equal basis as those who want to shut down gun-retailers, or shut down oil-pipelines, or government contractors who are working with immigration and customs enforcement?”

Marcus replied that Facebook had rules in place in relation to firearms but failed to outline any actual safeguards for ensuring a lack of censorship of conservative users, instead promising that Facebook would be “very thoughtful.” Marcus stated: “Senator, firearms, for instance, are a regulated product and are already regulated and treated as such on the Facebook platform, and I know it’s a complicated issue. When it comes to writing this policy, again, I’m committing that we will be very thoughtful. I have to say that as far as I am concerned personally, I believe that we should only get in the way in very exceptional cases and by being thoughtful of getting in the way of letting people do what they want with their money as long as it is lawful, but we also need to be thoughtful in how we write those policies.”

Source: Read online at Breitbart…

Senator Cotton honors life of River ‘Oakley’ Nimmo on senate floor

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Nimmo was a 5-year-old boy from Camden who fought bravely against cancer.

by THV11 Digital | July 9, 2019

Senator Tom Cotton commemorated the life of River “Oakley” Nimmo on Tuesday, July 9.

Nimmo was a 5-year-old boy who fought bravely against cancer.

Last month, the National Guard gathered at his funeral service to promote “Army Man” Oakley to Honorary Colonel.

Tom Cotton’s statement is presented below:

Madam President, I want to call your attention to a story that is tragic but also heartwarming and uplifting.

Honorary Colonel River “Oakley” Nimmo of Camden, Arkansas passed away last month at the age of five after a protracted struggle with his enemy, a rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma.

Oakley’s family remembers him as a “sweet, brave boy” who liked to play with power wheels and toy guns. But for all those who knew him or have learned about him, we’ll remember Oakley for an act of service that perhaps only a child could perform.

Oakley wanted to be an “Army Man” when he grew up. You’d find him at the hospital—even in the advanced stages of his fight with cancer—wearing camouflage fatigues and a helmet, with his trusty rifle by his side and a smile on his face.

Oakley fought his cancer valiantly, going above and beyond the call of duty. He was strengthened along the way by his Arkansas neighbors, who held yard sales and sold bracelets to help the Nimmo family pay for his care. He was also supported by more than 20,000 prayer warriors on a Facebook page entitled “Prayers for Oakley Nimmo.”

But ultimately it was God’s will that Oakley should return home to Him. He passed away on the 20th of June.

In light of Oakley’s heroic struggle—as well as his dream of becoming an “Army Man”—Oakley was named an honorary colonel in the Arkansas National Guard. In the days leading up to his funeral, his family made a simple request: that veterans and servicemembers show up at the funeral in their uniform to give Oakley the proper send-off.

Word got around, and dozens came. Some traveled from nearby towns, and most had never even met this little boy, but it didn’t matter, he was a solider like one of them.

Soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard provided funeral honors for Oakley. They presented Oakley’s mother, Shelby, with the flag and a special I.D. tag with his name on it. Oakley was sent off from this world like a true soldier, to the moving tune of TAPS played by a military bugler. 

Colonel Nimmo’s tour of duty on this Earth was brief, but he did teach an important lesson to all of us. At times some voices may express doubts about our military, but Oakley reminded us as perhaps only a child could that being an “Army Man”—a brave protector of our nation—is one of the highest honors to which an American can be called.

The veterans and the servicemembers who attended Oakley’s funeral were there to honor him. But in fact it was a double honor, because through his life and dreams, little Oakley honored them in return.

Oakley looked up to our troops in life. Now he looks down on them from above, where he’ll remain in God’s presence and our memory as a brave fighter against cancer, an inspiration—and indeed for all time—an Army Man.

Source: Read online at

Tom Cotton: If U.S. Can’t Deport Illegal Aliens Who Have Been Ordered Deported, Who Can We Deport?

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by John Binder | June 24, 2019

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) questioned who federal immigration officials are allowed to deport if not illegal aliens who have already been ordered deported by an immigration judge.

Last week, President Trump backed down on a plan to deport about 2,000 illegal alien families that have been ordered deported by immigration judges, saying he would use the effort as a bargaining tool in talks with Democrats to pass legislation that reforms the country’s asylum laws.

During an interview with Fox News Sunday‘s Chris Wallace, Cotton asked if the U.S. cannot deport even illegal aliens with final deportation orders, who can be deported?

The exchange went as follows:

WALLACE: President Trump has also delayed a round-up that was supposed to begin today of migrant families that have already been given their deportation orders. [Trump] says he’s giving Congress two weeks to work out, to reform the asylum system, otherwise, he’ll impose the round-up. I don’t have to tell you, you have a little bit of a look on your face. The likelihood … you talk about healthy skepticism, Congress isn’t going to reform the asylum system in two weeks, sir. [Emphasis added]

COTTON: So Chris I was just going to say healthy skepticism is warranted when you’re dealing with Democrats on immigration. Let’s just think about the Democrats’ position here Chris. These are people who have claimed asylum in our country, they’ve had their day in court, they’ve had their claims rejected and now they face a valid and final order of removal. If we can’t deport people like that, who can we deport? That’s why the Democrats’ position ultimately comes back to, in essence, open borders. [Emphasis added]

WALLACE: So what do you think of the president’s decision to hold off on the round-up of these people who should be deported? [Emphasis added]

COTTON: Two weeks for a couple of thousand families is not going to make a big difference. And if we could get a … genuine law passed through Congress that would address the asylum reforms that we need to stop the crisis at the border, that would be a good thing.

But, again, I go back to this point: If you can’t deport an illegal alien who has a valid and final order for removal that’s adjudicated by an immigration judge, who can you deport? [Emphasis added]

As Breitbart News’s Neil Munro reported, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) plan to trade amnesty for illegal aliens in exchange for asylum reforms has gotten a boost from Trump’s delaying the deportation plan.

Currently, there are more than 1.7 million illegal aliens from Central America and Mexico who have deportation orders or pending deportation orders that have yet to be deported from the U.S. This includes nearly 645,000 illegal aliens from Central America and Mexico who have final orders for deportation and about 1.1 million illegal aliens from Central America and Mexico with pending deportation orders.

Source: Read online at Breitbart…

The Dictatorship of Woke Capital

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by Tom Cotton | this essay was originally delivered as a speech in the U. S. Senate on June 19, 2019.

Many state legislatures across the country have taken action recently to protect unborn babies from the violence of abortion. My home state, Arkansas, has just passed a law protecting unborn babies after eighteen weeks of development. And this reform is not just supported by Arkansans. It’s supported by a large majority of all Americans, more than 70 percent of whom believe unborn babies ought to be protected at or before that stage of pregnancy.

These reforms are the work of the pro-life movement, which fights for the most vulnerable among us every day. The pro-life movement seeks to change the laws of our country in the noblest tradition of our country, working within our democratic system so that our laws ultimately live up to our highest principle: that “all men are created equal,” in the words of our Declaration. That all have a basic right to life.

But of course, this is a democracy, so not everyone agrees upon when or even if we ought to protect the unborn. I understand that. I know there are decent people on both sides of this sensitive issue. We resolve our differences and reach compromises through democratic debate. What should never happen, though, is billion-dollar corporations trying to dictate these moral questions to us. Politically correct CEOs shouldn’t be in the business of threatening normal Americans.

But that’s exactly what we’ve seen lately. The loudest objections to these pro-life laws haven’t come from the “bottom up”—from normal citizens who happen to disagree with one another—but from the “top down”: from cultural elites, and increasingly from giant corporations who wield their economic power as a weapon to punish the American people for daring to challenge their pro-abortion extremism.

Giant media companies like Disney, Netflix, and Warner Media have threatened to cripple Georgia’s film industry if its residents don’t bend the knee and betray their pro-life convictions. And just last Monday, the New York Times ran a full-page advertisement organized by the pro-abortion lobby and signed by the CEOs of hundreds of companies saying that legal protections for unborn babies are “bad for business.” How disgusting is that? Caring for a little baby is “bad for business.”

Now, I get why outfits like Planned Parenthood or NARAL would say babies are “bad for business.” Abortion is their business, after all, and they’re just protecting their market share. But what about those other CEOs? Why do they think babies are “bad for business?”

Perhaps because they want their workers to focus single-mindedly on working—not building a family and raising children. All these politically correct CEOs want company men and women, not family men and women. They’ll support your individuality and self-expression just so long as you stay unattached and on the clock.

You couldn’t find a more perfect example of this than &Pizza, one of the companies whose CEO signed the pro-abortion ad. &Pizza doesn’t even offer paid maternity leave to all its employees—but it does celebrate their “oneness” and “individuality.” It’ll even pay employees to get a tattoo of the company logo. So if you want to be a walking billboard for your employer, &Pizza will foot the bill. But if you’re pregnant with a child, tough luck. In the spirit of some of these CEOs, I might call for a boycott of &Pizza and its political correctness. But you could just skip them because their pizza is lousy, anyway.

There’s a troubling trend among giant corporations using this wealth and power to force liberal dogma on an unwilling people. As liberal activists have lost control of the judiciary, they have turned to a different hub of power to impose their views on the rest of the country. This time it’s private power, located in a few mega-cities on the coasts.

And that’s not an exaggeration. The overwhelming majority of companies that lashed out against the pro-life movement in that New York Times ad are headquartered on the coasts, hoping to rule the rest of us like colonies in the hinterlands. More than three-quarters are headquartered in New York or California alone. More than a dozen are foreign companies. Yet those same companies presume to tell all of America what we should think.

And for some reason, this outrage only seems to go in one direction. As states like Arkansas have passed pro-life laws, other states have sadly gone down a different path, stripping unborn children of recognition and protection under the law. States like New York, Illinois, and Vermont recently passed laws declaring abortion a “fundamental right,” accessible until moments before birth for practically any reason as long as you have a doctor’s note.

We have already begun to see the consequences of these laws, which strain so mightily to defy and deny the humanity of the unborn. In New York City, prosecutors recently dropped a charge of abortion against a man who brutally stabbed to death his girlfriend and her unborn child. They dropped that charge because the pro-abortion law that had just passed the legislature in Albany removed all criminal penalties for killing an unborn child. According to the laws of New York State, that woman’s child never existed.

Pro-abortion laws passed in New York, Illinois, Vermont, and elsewhere truly deserve the label “radical.” So why isn’t the national media covering these radical laws with the intensity they’ve reserved for states like Georgia? Where are the indignant CEOs who profess to care so much for their female employees? Nowhere to be found, because their outrage is very selective. They don’t speak for the majority of Americans, much less for women. Instead, they’re actively trying to force a pro-abortion agenda on an unwilling public.

These companies want to wield a veto power over the democratic debate and decisions of Arkansans and citizens across our country. They want to force the latest social fashions of the coasts on small towns they would never visit in a million years. They want us to betray our deeply held beliefs about life and death, in favor of a specious account of “equality.” If there’s one thing the New York Times ad got right, it’s that “the future of equality hangs in the balance” when it comes to abortion. But their idea of equality doesn’t include everyone: It omits and degrades unborn babies as expendable, lesser than, even “bad for business.” That’s a strange kind of equality, if you ask me.

This trend of intolerance ought to alarm everyone, no matter your views on this sensitive question. It threatens democratic debate on this question, and ultimately on all questions.

But despite the pressure campaign waged against us, I’m heartened, because I know the pro-life movement will carry on as it always has, speaking to the inherent dignity of every human life. Not everything can be measured on a corporate balance sheet. Some things are bigger than the bottom line or what wealthy corporations consider “bad for business.” The cause of life is one of those issues worth fighting for.

Source: Read online at First Things…

Schumer & Cotton: Our bipartisan ‘Fentanyl Sanctions Act’ targets traffickers like China

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Synthetic opioids have devastated our home states and many others. We need to work together to end an epidemic that kills tens of thousands a year.

by Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton, Opinion contributors | Published 6:00 a.m. ET June 18, 2019

Overdosing from synthetic opioids is one of the fastest-growing causes of death in America, a crisis long in the making but one which in recent years has reached critical levels. In 2017 alone, it’s estimated that opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 48,000 Americans — more than double the number from a decade earlier. Of those deaths, approximately 32,000 involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Fentanyl, in particular, can be especially vicious. It is up to 50 times as potent as heroin, and the average adult can be killed by as little as two or three milligrams — about the size of a few grains of salt.

Drug trafficking is one of the biggest and deadliest threats facing the United States. The federal government has a responsibility to help states combat this epidemic — and that means stopping the spread of this drug at the source, something states alone cannot easily do because the source is often not in America but rather in countries like China.

Get tougher on fentanyl traffickers

China is currently the world’s largest producer of illicit fentanyl, much of which ends up in the United States. Chinese-based pharmaceutical and chemical companies produce legitimate drugs, but many knowingly divert illegitimate fentanyl products to traffickers. These traffickers then use international mail to ship these products directly to the United States or sell them to drug cartels. Poor enforcement of fentanyl restrictions in China has allowed this trafficking threat to persist.

Insidious killer: China’s deadliest export to America is fentanyl

To date, only a single fentanyl producer has been targeted with U.S. sanctions. That won’t cut it. To stem the flow of illicit drugs pouring into the United States from China and elsewhere, we have to get tougher on drug traffickers. Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies need additional resources and targeted sanctions tools to meet this challenge.

That’s why we’ve introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, a bipartisan bill that would give U.S. law enforcement the tools it needs to combat opioid trafficking into the United States, particularly from China. Our bill would require the imposition of sanctions on criminal organizations that traffic these drugs into the United States, the financial institutions that assist them and the drug manufacturers that supply them. The legislation would also urge diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to establish multilateral sanctions against foreign traffickers, and authorize new streams of funding across the U.S. government to combat opioid trafficking.

Diplomatic pressure: We can’t fight our opioid crisis alone. We need help from countries around the world.

Some might find it unusual that a Republican from Arkansas and a Democrat from New York are working together on something. But when it comes to this issue we don’t think it’s unusual at all — we believe it’s necessary. Synthetic opioids have devastated both of our home states and many others across the country. If we hope to put an end to an epidemic that kills tens of thousands of people a year, we all need to work together.

We can start saving US lives now

We are optimistic about the road ahead. Congress has already passed sweeping legislation aimed at curbing opioid addiction here at home, but more needs to be done to stem the supply of opioids coming in from abroad. As Congress considers an annual defense bill, which is designed to defend our homeland, we have formed a bipartisan group of lawmakers who want our legislation included to deal with the fentanyl crisis. Strong drug enforcement is a critical part of homeland security, and we strongly believe our bill should be included in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act.

We cannot sit back and hope that the Communist Party in China starts doing a better job at drug enforcement. We need to act now to save American lives by curbing the flow of illegal drugs across our borders. The Fentanyl Sanctions Act is a great place to start.

Source: Read online at USA Today…


TOM COTTON: Support troops

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Give them the tools they need

by Tom Cotton Special to the Democrat-Gazette | June 7, 2019 at 1:52 a.m.

Seventy-five years ago this week, hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers huddled against the English weather, wondering when their units would go ashore at Normandy and what dangers awaited them there. They steeled themselves for the coming onslaught through prayer and by reflecting on a message they had received earlier from General Eisenhower: “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade … . The eyes of the world are upon you.”

Later that day, as the battle raged on the beaches of Normandy, President Roosevelt broadcast a prayer for the success of the D-Day invasion. “Almighty God,” Roosevelt said, “Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.” Millions of Americans of all faiths joined the president in this heartfelt prayer.

With the prayers of the Free World behind them, Allied soldiers dealt the Nazis a crippling blow on D-Day, turning the tide of the war. The Normandy invasion was made possible by countless acts of bravery, as commemorated by movies like Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day.

“You wonder where the strength comes from,” one Arkansas veteran recounted many years later. “I guess from inside.”

But the Normandy landing was also made possible by a team effort that mobilized the entire nation in service of a common goal. It required not only brave soldiers but a vast support network that extended across the Atlantic to the home front, where dock workers in New Orleans built Higgins boats to carry those troops, factory workers at the Springfield Armory built the rifles they clutched in their hands, and families in big cities and farmhouses prayed fervently for their safe return.

On every D-Day anniversary, which comes so soon after Memorial Day, we’re reminded of the sacrifices our troops and military families have made for our freedom.

While D-Day was a stunning victory for America, it came with a steep price. Thousands of American soldiers never left those beaches. Thousands more carried wounds for the rest of their lives. D-Day veterans often recount how the surf that day ran red with blood.

We cannot repay the brave veterans who sacrificed so much for us, but we can do our best. Sometimes that means simply thanking a veteran for their service, as we do with special ceremonies on D-Day, Veterans Day, and other national holidays.

But sometimes we have an opportunity to do even more, by giving our troops the tools they need to fight the enemy and giving them the full honor and support they need during and after their service.

In the Senate, I fought to include in this year’s defense spending bill several reforms that would help troops in Arkansas and their families.

One expands the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery so our state can keep its promise to veterans who choose to be buried alongside their brothers and sisters. Another allows Medal of Honor recipients and prisoners of war to be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, regardless of rank.

Other reforms help our military families by allowing home-school students to participate in local JROTC units, and allowing military spouses to transfer occupational licenses they’ve earned when they move from base to base.

These reforms will improve the lives of thousands of American troops and their families. More importantly, these reforms are signs of support for the men and women who don uniforms knowing they may be called to die for our freedom.

They show that Americans are “marching together to victory” as one people, just as we did on D-Day all those years ago.


Source: Read online at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette…