Sen. Cotton: Cannot allow anarchists, insurrectionist to destroy federal property
Senator Tom Cotton explains why it’s right for the government to deploy agents and defend federal land
It is right for U.S. federal law enforcement to take action in order to prevent anarchists and insurrectionists from destroying federal property, Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton stated Tuesday.
In an interview on "Fox & Friends," Cotton pointed out that the "insurrectionists" in the streets of Portland, Ore., are "little different from the insurrectionists who seceded from the Union in 1861 in South Carolina and tried to take over Fort Sumter."
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"And, just like President Lincoln wouldn't stand for that, the federal government today cannot stand for the vandalism, the fire-bombing or any attacks on federal property," he said. "It is right to send federal law enforcement in to defend federal property and federal facilities."
While clashes with police in Portland are "an extreme case," the government has a "responsibility to defend its installations and property," Cotton says, "the people expect" it and "the Constitution calls for" it.
Federal agents disperse Black Lives Matter protesters near the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Monday in Portland, Ore. Officers used teargas and projectiles to move the crowd after some protesters tore down a fence fronting the courthouse. Several mayors across the country are demanding the withdrawal of federal forces from their cities. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
"The radical left-wing mayor, who is basically in league with the ‘defund the police’ anarchists on the street, [has] seen over 50 days of rioting and looting and anarchy in their streets," he said. "But, if you see something similar in other cities, where anarchists, insurrectionists are attacking courthouses, attacking federal buildings, attacking federal land and property, then of course the federal government has a responsibility to defend its installations and its property."
Many have taken issue with the way federal law enforcement under the Trump administration – mainly the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – has acted to mitigate the situation whether state and local officials like their involvement or not.
On Monday, Acting DHS Sec. Chad Wolf told "Fox & Friends" that he did not need "invitations by the state, state mayors or state governors to do [their] job" and that they would do so "whether they like us there or not."
"We want to work with them," Wolf added. "And we have a great working relationship with the vast majority of local law enforcement. However, there are some communities that, again, want to breed this environment that allows this lawlessness."
On the same day, President Trump signaled he could order federal agents to be deployed to other liberal cities, including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
"I'm going to do something – that, I can tell you," the president told reporters in the Oval Office. "Because we're not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these – Oakland is a mess. We're not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats."
A new op-ed in The New York Times warned readers that Trump's "occupation of American cities has begun."
"Protesters are being snatched from the streets without warrants," wrote opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg. "Can we call it fascism yet?"
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"Well, The New York Times is a national laughingstock," Cotton told the "Friends" hosts. "Ever since they apologized for running my op-ed last month without citing a signal factual inaccuracy in it, ever since they fired their own editor for running that op-ed, it reads like a syllabus from a social justice seminar. So, I give little credit to what I see in the pages of The New York Times."
"The bigger issue, though, remains – that the federal government has a fundamental responsibility to protect its property, its facilities and ultimately to protect our citizens from violent insurrectionists and anarchists," the senator concluded.
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