Republican Sen. Tom Cotton is taking aim at four of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination – as well as two Democratic freshman congresswomen who are part of the ‘Squad’ – over their vocal opposition to the Justice Department’s decision to resume the federal death penalty after a 15-year hiatus.
The announcement this week by Attorney General William Barr that the federal government will execute five prisoners -- each convicted in 2004 or earlier of killing children or the elderly – was quickly decried by death penalty opponents as an unlawful move.
Cotton, an Iraq War veteran turned conservative first-term senator from Arkansas and ally to President Trump, emulated the president with a tweet-storm on Thursday night forcefully pushing back against comments by some of those slamming Barr’s announcement.
In each of his tweets, the senator spotlighted Daniel Lee – one of the five men facing execution. Lee, a white supremacist, was convicted of brutally murdering an Arkansas family of three – including an eight-year-old girl.
After Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed in a tweet to “abolish the death penalty” if elected president, Cotton accused the Vermont independent who’s making his second straight run for the Democratic presidential nomination of rushing to defend “Aryan Nation white supremacist who murdered an 8-year-old Arkansas girl & her parents, then dumped their bodies. Bernie can’t even see the moral difference between death sentence after due process & a brutal triple murder. Disturbing.”
He also responded to a tweet by Sen. Kamala Harris of California where the Democratic presidential contender wrote “let me be clear: capital punishment is immoral and deeply flawed.”
Cotton claimed that the former California attorney general was “now coming to defense of Aryan Nation white supremacist who murdered an 8-year-old Arkansas girl & her parents & dumped their bodies in a bayou. Democrats have lost their minds!”
He also heavily criticized Democratic White House contenders Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. And he slammed Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who are two of the four members of the ‘Squad.’
A Gallup poll conducted last autumn indicated that 56 percent supported the death penalty for those convicted of murder, down from 80 percent in the 1990’s.