An article in Vanity Fair says U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton schemed with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to foil Donald Trump’s claim of a stolen election.
Cotton was among the Republican senators who voted to certify Joe Biden’s election. That’s not new.
What’s new is from David Drucker’s new book, “In Trump’s Shadow,” which appears to be well-informed by background from Terrible Tom, who is VERY selective about reporters he’ll talk with. Drucker writes for the Washington Examiner, not one of those liberal rags. If Cotton did brief him, he was well-rewarded.
The article, an excerpt from Drucker’s book, describes how Cotton always played nice personally to Trump — a winning strategy apparently — and didn’t speak ill of him openly. While Trump was maneuvering to implement a scheme to invalidate the election, Drucker writes:
In the midst of all this, Cotton, in league with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was maneuvering behind the scenes to derail the outgoing president’s effort to remain in ofﬁce, and marginalize those Republicans who were abetting him.
From the inception of Trump the politician, Cotton exhibited an understanding of the future president’s psychological peculiarities, and an intuitive grasp of the fervor he inspired among his MAGA fan base.
The Dardanelle Sand Lizard comes off as two-faced. The excerpt describes his obsequious advance apology when Cotton couldn’t be present at a pre-2016 election appearance by Trump in Hot Springs for a state Republican Party dinner. He sent his parents as proxies.
For the next ﬁve and a half years, through scandal and controversy and tweets, Cotton navigated the Trumpian mineﬁeld in much the same way. He worked proactively to preserve their rapport, and by extension, to preserve his connection with the potent movement of voters Trump had inspired, encouraging the president to attack Iran and aggressively siding with Trump and police during a historic wave of racial-justice protests. His strategy worked—until it didn’t.
The article credits Cotton for researching Trump’s election rejection theory and discrediting it. Privately. But Cotton wanted things kept quiet until Jan. 6 to avoid a party fight that could influence the Georgia Senate runoffs. He planned to have his say on the law in an op-ed to be published on Jan. 6 in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. But insurrectionists Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz upended Cotton’s plans. As other Republican senators joined their push to challenge the electoral vote, McConnell enlisted Cotton to stymie them.
On Jan. 3, Cotton rode in to help McConnell with a statement saying he would not object to counting the electoral votes. The Jan. 6 riot reduced the number of senators willing to object to the electoral count in the end. But Drucker also credits Cotton. He quotes two senators on McConnell’s team, John Thune and John Barrasso, as saying things would have gotten out of hand without Cotton’s stand. Thune said Cotton took a political risk with a statement on Sunday, before the Wednesday vote, knowing the Trump base wouldn’t like it.
The Drucker excerpt concludes as a virtual endorsement.
Cotton is no-frills. He doesn’t scream larger-than-life and will never be all things to all people—a helpful skill when running for president that some of his competitors do in fact bring to the table. But if there’s a market for a “tastes great, less ﬁlling” version of Trump, and sales take off, Cotton, or a Republican a lot like him, could hit the jackpot.
Whew. A taste for Cotton?