Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton blasted what he called a “false and offensive” New York Times tweet shortly after the editorial page editor of the liberal newspaper of record resigned amid reports of anger inside the company over the publication of Cotton’s recent op-ed about the George Floyd unrest last week.
He tweeted: “This is false and offensive. I called for using military force as a backup—only if police are overwhelmed—to stop riots, not to be used against protesters. If @nytimes has any decency left, they should retract this smear.”
Cotton added: “The @nytimes is lying again.”
He included in his tweets a copy of his words in the commentary as well as the Times’ tweet claiming “Cotton … called for military force against protesters in American cities.”
The Times did not immediately comment.
Cotton’s piece, headlined “Send In the Troops,” supported the idea of using the military as a last resort to help quell riots – an opinion apparently not appreciated by many on the Times’ staff. The Republican senator blamed complaints from the paper’s newsroom for the Times changing its stance.
Cotton earlier criticized the Times for distancing itself from the op-ed.
“The New York Times editorial page editor and owner defended it in public statements but then they totally surrendered to a woke child mob from their own newsroom that apparently gets triggered if they're presented with any opinion contrary to their own, as opposed to telling the woke children in their newsroom this is the workplace, not a social-justice seminar on campus,” Cotton told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Cotton added the Times didn’t indicate how his op-ed was not up to par.
“They still haven’t identified any facts that are wrong in the op-ed, they haven’t identified what was so rushed about this process,” he said. “They’ve only prostrated themselves in front of their young children who are acting like children[.]”
Cotton then addressed the throngs that have gathered in protest following George Floyd’s death despite social distancing rules that states have put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic. While businesses remained shuttered and religious services have been barred or restricted to small groups, protesters have marched en masse and unpunished.
Cotton claimed this meant the era of lockdowns was over.
“It cannot be the case that thousands of Americans can exercise their First Amendment right on the street, while dozens of Americans can’t exercise their First Amendment rights in churches,” he said. “It cannot be the case that you can be arrested for opening a business but not for looting one.”