Jul 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Tom Cotton compares Portland "insurrectionists" to Confederate rebels

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) defended the use of federal law enforcement officers in Portland and compared violent protesters in the city to the "anarchists and insurrectionists" who seceded from the Union in the prelude to the Civil War.

The big picture: Cotton's comments comes after President Trump told reporters on Monday the administration would send more federal law enforcement into cities run by Democrats. The Arkansas senator previously sparked a controversy by calling for Trump in a New York Times op-ed to "send in the troops" to quell violent protests.

  • Media reports and videos shared on social media appeared to show that Department of Homeland Security officers were taking protesters into unmarked vehicles without explanation.
  • House Democrats and the U.S. attorney for Oregon have demanded inspector general investigations into the matter. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has called the reported actions of federal law enforcement "abhorrent" and "unconstitutional."

What he's saying: "These insurrectionists in the streets of Portland are little different from the insurrectionists who seceded from the Union in 1861 in South Carolina and tried to take over Fort Sumter," Cotton said on Fox News Tuesday.

  • "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."
  • "It is right to send law enforcement in to defend federal property and federal facilities."

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