Newspaper article Roll Call

'Good Job, Tom': Fellow Freshmen Republicans Commend Cotton

Newspaper article Roll Call

'Good Job, Tom': Fellow Freshmen Republicans Commend Cotton

Article excerpt

As an unapologetic neoconservative hawk, it perhaps came as no surprise to Senate Republicans last week when Arkansas freshman Tom Cotton started circulating his five-paragraph missive to Iran's leadership.

"We're all aligned that we do not want a nuclear Iran," said Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who confirmed to CQ Roll Call that he was the first of the 46 Republicans who joined Cotton on the letter. "That's what this is all about. I applaud his leadership in offering the letter -- but we're all aligned."

All 11 of Cotton's fellow Republican freshmen in the Senate signed onto the letter, including fellow military veterans Joni Ernst of Iowa and Dan Sullivan of Alaska. Like Cotton, military service played a major role in each of their campaigns.

Fellow freshman Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., praised Cotton's "leadership and courage," when asked about his decision to sign. "I think that we're getting a discussion going that's very important and I think that the American people are interested in, too. So, [I] fully support him -- that's why I signed onto the letter."

Another rookie to the chamber, Republican Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, capped his thoughts on the letter with: "So, good job, Tom." Cassidy, who served with Cotton in the House prior to winning a Senate seat, told CQ Roll Call that the two have a good relationship, but shied away from the suggestion that his colleague stands out as a leader in the freshman class.

"No, I think that everybody has their area of interest ... I mean, it's nothing against [Cotton]," Cassidy said. "Everybody has their area, right? What is your committee? What is your natural interest? He comes from being a war veteran, and so he's of course naturally interested in the Middle East, so I think it's natural for him to take an interest in this."

In a noteworthy move, Cotton was appointed chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee at the start of the 114th Congress. He made waves in January with a speech delivered at the Heritage Foundation blasting the White House's attempts to negotiate with Iran. The Harvard-educated hawk, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has also proposed curtailing the president's authority to waive new sanctions against Iran. …

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