Responding to the Ninth Circuit decision rejecting President Trump’s immigration ban, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) cited the Founding Fathers and offered strong support for the President’s ban.*
“Thomas Jefferson said America is ‘a government of laws, and not of men,'” Cotton told reporters. “In this case, our President, Donald Trump, made the law with his Executive Order, and a few men in robes have decided to overturn it. It’s unbelievable.”
Cotton added that “Thomas Jefferson would have stood with Trump, and I do too.”
The executive order in question was Trump’s controversial decision to ban all immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries–Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, and Iran.
Critics of the ban have suggested it fulfills Trump’s campaign
threat proposal of a Muslim ban and could violate the First Amendment as a result. Many have also pointed out that the countries involved seemed to be chosen arbitrarily–since terrorist attacks by nationals from these countries have not killed a single person on US soil in the last 40 years. The most striking feature these countries seem to have in common is that they have all been victimized by US foreign policy actions in recent times, but experts note that this is not a very exclusive club.
Meanwhile, proponents of the ban see it as a prudent first step toward reducing threats to national security after the recent string of high-profile attacks in Western countries. Cotton comes down strongly on this side of the issue, and tends to oppose immigration in general.
Later during the press conference, Cotton was asked how Trump’s far-reaching executive order squared with the Republican Party’s belief in limited government. The good Senator from Arkansas quickly resolved the confusion. “Of course, I support limited government and the Constitution, but the President’s number one job isn’t to defend the Constitution, it’s to keep us safe. So I support a limited government where the President can do whatever he wants on national security.”
“And look, the Constutution is doing fine. Last I checked it was sealed in a museum behind a couple feet of glass. Our nation, on the other hand, is in great peril,” Cotton reminded.
As the presser wrapped up, Cotton also said that he thought it was “very unlikely” that a blank check on executive power would be abused. However, the senator conceded he hadn’t really considered the possibility that Democrats might win the presidency at some point in the future. “Fortunately, that’s not going to happen,” he asserted.
*While the Ninth Circuit’s decision and the executive order are real, the quotes from Senator Cotton presented above are entirely fictional. And in his defense, if you can call it that, he doesn’t appear to even pay much lip service to the idea of limited government or the Constitution. So the problem with Senator Cotton in particular, may be less that he’s hypocritical, and more that he’s just uniformly bad.