The Guardian Reports that
The Arkansas Republican senator Tom Cotton has called the enslavement of millions of African people “the necessary evil upon which the union was built”.
Cotton, widely seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, made the comment in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette published on Sunday.
He was speaking in support of legislation he introduced on Thursday that aims to prohibit use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project, an initiative from the New York Times that reframes US history around August 1619 and the arrival of slave ships on American shores for the first time.The project was based on a proposal by Hannah-Jones to dedicate an issue of the magazine to a re-examination of the legacy of slavery in America, at the anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves to Virginia. The plan was to challenge the notion that the history of the United States began in 1776. The initiative quickly grew into a larger project. The project encompasses multiple issues of the magazine, with related materials in multiple other publications of the Times as well as a project curriculum developed in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center, for use in schools.[ The project employed a panel of historians and had support from the Smithsonian, for fact-checking, research and development.] The project was envisioned with the condition that almost all of the contributions would be from African-American contributors, deeming the perspective of black writers an essential element of the story to be told.
Cotton’s Saving American History Act of 2020 and “would prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project by K-12 schools or school districts”, according to a statement from the senator’s office.
“The entire premise of the New York Times’ factually, historically flawed 1619 Project … is that America is at root, a systemically racist country to the core and irredeemable,” Cotton told the Democrat-Gazette.
“I reject that root and branch. America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created equal. We have always struggled to live up to that promise, but no country has ever done more to achieve it.”
He added: “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as [Abraham] Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”
Cotton has a history of this he drew scrutiny for columns he wrote for The Harvard Crimson about race relations in America, calling Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton "race-hustling charlatans" and saying race relations "would almost certainly improve if we stopped emphasizing race in our public life.
Cotton rejects that there is "systemic racism in the criminal justice system in America.] In 2016, Cotton said that the United States had an "under-incarceration problem", as opposed to a problem with over-incarceration. Cotton said that reduced sentencing for felons would destabilize the United States, arguing that "I saw this in Baghdad. We’ve seen it again in Afghanistan.
Cotton has an A rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which endorsed him during the 2014 election. The NRA's Chris W. Cox stated that "Tom Cotton will always stand up for the values and freedoms of Arkansas gun owners and sportsmen. In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Cotton stated that he did not believe any new gun control legislation would have prevented the mass shooting from taking place.
In January 2019, Cotton was one of thirty-one Republican senators to cosponsor the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill introduced by John Cornyn and Ted Cruz that would grant individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state the right to exercise this right in any other state with concealed carry laws while concurrently abiding by that state's laws.
Cotton opposes the Affordable Care Act, saying in 2012 that "the first step is to repeal that law, which is offensive to a free society and a free people". In April 2014, Cotton was one of 38 Republican lawmakers that signed an amicus curiae in support of Senator Ron Johnson's legal challenge against the United States Office of Personnel Management's ACA ruling.
Cotton opposes amnesty or a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
In July 2013, after the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Eight passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, an immigration reform proposal, House Republicans held a closed door meeting to decide whether to bring the bill to a vote. Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan spoke at one podium arguing for the bill's passage Cotton spoke at another podium arguing against the bill, even exchanging terse comments with Speaker Boehner.[ Cotton noted that a tougher stance on immigration had done little to diminish Mitt Romney's electoral support among Hispanics in 2012 compared to John McCain's in 2008. The House decided to not consider the bill. Cotton supported President Trump's 2017 Executive Order 13769 that prohibited immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries
On February 7, 2017, in the presence of President Trump, Cotton and Senator David Perdue (R-GA), jointly proposed a new immigration bill called the RAISE Act which would limit the family route or chain migration. The bill would set a limit on the number of refugees offered residency at 50,000 a year and would remove the Diversity Immigraion visa. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) both expressed opposition to the bill
If Trump loses in November , then that does not mean an end to the Republicans drift to the far right and by creating a myth that Trump was robbed of a second term , then they could well run Cotton or another far right candidate 2024 against Biden who had failed to inspire the electors.
This time however we may not have the clownish and inept rhetoric of Trump , but something far more dangerous and the nightmare of American Democracy being led by someone who believes enslavement of millions of African people “the necessary evil upon which the union was built” will conside.