Tom Cotton blasts NYT leaders for failing to stand up to 'woke children' in newsroom

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton blasted The New York Times’ “adult” leaders for failing to stand up to “the woke children that apparently now run” the publication’s newsroom, which he said led to the resignation of the editor of the newspaper’s opinion page.

Cotton made the comments on “Fox & Friends” on Monday, one day after the Times announced that editorial page editor James Bennet had resigned, amid reports of anger inside the company over the publication of an op-ed from Cotton about the George Floyd unrest last week.

Bennet, the brother of 2020 White House candidate Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., had apologized late last week after previously defending the piece, titled “Send in the Troops.” Cotton called for the government to deploy troops as a last resort to help quell riots and looting following Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody last month.

Cotton’s article sparked a revolt among Times journalists, with some saying it endangered black employees. Some staff members called out sick Thursday in protest, and the Times later announced that a review found the piece did not meet its standards.

“Let’s be clear, this all goes back to the publisher and his own willingness to stand up to a bunch of 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds who were raised on social justice seminars on our campuses,” Cotton said. “They need to behave like grown-ups not like children, who are confronted with an opinion that they don’t like.”

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The announcement of Bennet's departure was made by Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger in a memo to staff.

"Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we've experienced in recent years," Sulzberger wrote. "James and I agreed that it would take a new team to lead the department through a period of considerable change."

Cotton explained that about one week ago, “after the violence and looting that we saw in Washington, D.C., where a famous church was torched and our memorials were desecrated and businesses were looted,” he realized that “the National Guard needs to be called in.”

He added that if the National Guard “can’t back up police sufficiently enough to stop this anarchy on our streets, then the Insurrection Act provides the president with the final report tool that he needs.”

Last week President Trump vowed that, if necessary, he would use the U.S. military to assist in controlling the looting and violent protests taking place throughout the country. The framework for this is largely set by two laws, including the Insurrection Act.

“Fortunately more and more cities and states called in the National Guard through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of last week,” Cotton noted, saying invoking the Insurrection Act was ultimately “not necessary.”

“But The New York Times actually asked me to explain in further detail that exact point I made, they even defended it, the publisher defended the decision to publish that column after it was published,” Cotton said.

He went on to explain that “the mob in their newsroom” then “began to demand that it be taken down and there will be consequences.”

“Within a day it turned into something like a struggle session from the cultural revolution in Mao’s China, where the adults had to prostrate themselves and apologize in front of the woke children that apparently now run The New York Times newsroom and now you have the opinion page editor have to resign,” Cotton said.

Fox News has reached out to the Times for comment.

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President Trump weighed in on the matter by commending Cotton's op-ed piece, and denouncing the Times as "fake news."

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.