Negative reviews are piling up for Sen. Tom Cotton
for deciding to refresh his memory so that he could lie about Donald Trump’s racist immigration remarks.

Jennifer Rubin, the conservative Washington Post columnist, was particularly harsh yesterday.


… many GOP lawmakers now consider lying in defense of the president to be routine, part of their normal duties as card-carrying Republicans. They don’t care that it makes them look foolish to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. They, like Trump, now operate in the populist bubble that depends on protecting Trump and reaffirming their bond with the base on behalf of white grievance. For Perdue and Cotton, defending the preference for immigrants from richer countries — i.e. whiter countries — requires they not concede that this, at bottom, is about race.

…colleagues on both sides of the aisle should keep these two Republican senators’ rampant, flippant dishonesty in mind going forward. Should either come before the Senate for a confirmable position, the Senate should reject the nomination. If they lied about this, they’d lie about anything. Voters of Georgia and Arkansas deserve better than these two dissemblers.

Pungent, too, was Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast, who wrote an article headlined:

Shoveling Sh*t for Donald Trump, Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue Get Covered in It

Cotton could have gotten away with his initial “can’t recall” response, Tomasky wrote. But shifting gears to deny Trump had uttered coarse, racist words put Cotton in a different place.


Trump’s remark was an important symbolic low-point of his presidency. It resonated around the world. The outrages are so numerous that we can’t always know which ones will make the history books. We can be certain that this one will. A moment of national humiliation and disgrace.

Cotton and Perdue have chosen to go out of their way to align themselves with this humiliation. Their colleague Jeff Flake is giving a speech Wednesday comparing Trump to Stalin. Cotton and Perdue might well ask themselves what that makes them.

More reporting on Cotton’s lying here.

One enjoyable moment in the uproar: The image of a visibly red-faced Mike Pence when the pastor of a black church he chose to attend Sunday blasted Trump’s remarks.


Meanwhile, in Arkansas, there was continued silence from Republican elected politicians from members of Congress to the governor to other statewide officers and legislators. (Except for notable defenders of racist immigration policy such as Cotton and Rep. Steve Womack.) Only Dale Charles of the NAACP spoke critically of the president at the King Day observance Monday at the Capitol. Gov. Asa Hutchinson seems to think he deserves a permanent brotherhood trophy for ending the state holiday for slavery defender Robert E. Lee. We should ignore that he and his party proceed apace with policies aimed at marginalizing minorities and the poor, the very people King championed. Just this morning, Hutchinson drew praise for his declaration of School Choice Week later this month, a movement empowered by law and Walton dollars so that parents may flee schools with the wrong sorts of children, be they children of color or merely the wrong economic cohort. There was a time when Freedom of Choice was seen for what it was, a euphemism for perpetuating segregation.

Now the really bad bottom line: 1) Trump is proud of what he said; 2) it probably DOES help him with the racists, white nationalists and hardened resisters that provide so much voter clout in places like Arkansas. As Vox writes, racism has always been the core of Trumpism. Vanity Fair writes that the alt-right loves Trump more than ever. They are, after all, very fine people. Far be it for Tom Cotton or any other elected Republican officials to call them or Trump out.

Which reminds me: Sybil Hampton, who knows a thing or two about the struggle for civil rights, forwards to me a column by Andre Perry at Brookings. He wrote last week:

Trump’s words have revealed his character. However, it’s what’s not being said by others that’s bothering me. There are major organizations and people who are relegating themselves as bystanders of oppression, having offered no public statements (not even a tweet) condemning any of the President’s racist and sexist behaviors.

Therefore, on this year’s MLK Day, in observation of the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I’m not investing too much energy into Trump. And I’m no longer interested in hearing voices who state the obvious about Trump. I am, however, listening for institutional silence, wherever it might originate. Too many stand in silence and complicity as Trump abuses the office of the Presidency with the weapons of bigotry and divisiveness.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Know those who were silent yesterday by that intentional deed.