To quote Val Kilmer in Tombstone: “Why, whatever do you mean?” In this case it’s whomever, and we all know exactly which Senate Republican that Tom Cotton has in mind. Roll this back to the beginning to hear the Arkansas Republican start off by noting that he called for federal troops to put down insurrections in other American cities this summer, and Cotton insists that is what should have happened yesterday as well.
However, the key shot at Ted Cruz et al comes at the 4:40 mark, where this is set to play from the embed, as Cotton accuses members of Congress of exploiting unfounded election grievances for political and fundraising profit. “You had some senators who for political advantage were giving false hope to their supporters,” Cotton remarks, “misleading them into thinking that somehow yesterday’s actions in Congress could reverse the results of the election.” Congress can’t do that, nor can they impose an “emergency audit” of the results, and they knew it, Cotton tells the Fox & Friends hosts.
“Yet these senators, literally as insurrectionists literally stormed the capital, were sending out fundraising e-mails,” Cotton says. That’s not quite how it happened, but the precise truth isn’t much of an improvement:
Here’s one of the instances to which Cotton refers:
Literally after the riots started pic.twitter.com/TTOgAqCC75
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 7, 2021
Reportedly, Josh Hawley also texted out for fundraising off of their challenges when the riots took place. Obviously, neither senator did this while standing in the well of the Senate; they have services to handle this kind of business. But what is also obvious is that Cruz and Hawley strategized to have these fundraising messages sent out in the middle of their debate to maximize their profit off of it. The riot happened quickly enough that they didn’t have time to call off the pledge campaign, which isn’t their fault — but their cynical use of an unfounded and arguably illegitimate challenge to certified electors to fill their campaign coffers certainly is.
Cotton also laid the blame for losing the two runoff elections in Georgia at the feet of those pushing conspiracy theories about voting. “What happened yesterday is in part the result of misleading claims in recent weeks,” Cotton says later, “and also what happened Tuesday night was the result of misleading claims in recent weeks that the people of Georgia’s votes didn’t count. Look,” he continued, “if you tell people that their vote doesn’t count, the election is rigged, you shouldn’t be surprised when a few of them don’t turn out to vote.” Cotton doesn’t note that the authors of those “misleading claims” are Trump and his legal team, but then again, there really isn’t any doubt of ownership there either.