Tom Cotton Confronted With 2020 Remark on Trump Peacefully Leaving Office

tom cotton confronted with 2020 remark on trump peacefully leaving office

Sen. Tom Cotton speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on December 07, 2023, in Washington, DC. Inset, former President Donald Trump gives remarks to the press at the National Republican Senatorial Committee building on June 13, 2024, in Washington, DC.

Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and ally to Donald Trump, was confronted by CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday with his 2020 remark about the former president peacefully leaving office.

In September 2020, Trump cast doubt on whether he would accept the results of the presidential election. He questioned whether the election would be "honest," telling reporters, "I'm not sure that it can be, I don't know that it can be with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots, they're unsolicited, millions being sent to everybody."

Trump was referring to mail-in ballots, which are a historically secure way to cast one's vote. Trump ended up losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden and still has not accepted the results. He has continued to make claims that the election was stolen from him via widespread voter fraud, despite there being no evidence of such claims.

Following months of these false claims in the wake of his 2020 election loss, Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, in a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying the election results.

When Cotton appeared on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Tapper shared a clip from the last time he was on the show in September 2020.

"It's really quite alarming to a lot of Republicans, his refusal to say, 'Of course, if I lose, I will abide by a peaceful transfer of power,'" Tapper told Cotton in 2020.

Cotton replied at the time: "He's since said that if there's a clear winner at this court settled contested election, that of course he will. But the premise of the question that you just played me, Jake, is that the president is going to lose. I don't think the president's going to lose, the president is going to win."

Tapper reacted to the clip on Sunday, telling Cotton: "It's a prediction that didn't age very well. Not only did President Trump lose he did not accept the court settled contested election, as you phrased it or abide by the peaceful transfer of power."

"[Trump] has said, as I've said about this election, of course, we will accept the results, if the results are from fair and free elections," Cotton told Tapper on Sunday. "Every candidate in any race has a right to go to court to seek legal redress. If they think there's been any kind of fraud or cheating, if they think a state or city didn't follow the rules or customary practices of their elections. I think that that's reasonable for [former] President Trump to say. It's reasonable for any candidate, for any office in America to believe."

Tapper then pushed back, telling the senator, "I don't disagree, but that's not what happened in 2020."

Cotton called January 6 a "protest" that "got out of hand and it became a riot," adding, "As I've said, from the very beginning, anyone who injured a law enforcement officer or committed acts of violence on January 6th at the Capitol should be prosecuted and face severe consequences."

Newsweek has reached out to Cotton's office and Trump's spokesperson, Steven Cheung, via email for comment.

More than a thousand rioters have been charged in relation to the attack on the Capitol on January 6 and Trump currently faces four felony counts for his alleged actions surrounding the riot. The former president has pleaded not guilty and claims the federal case against him is politically motivated. He has not taken any responsibility for what occurred at the Capitol.

Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, spoke about this year's upcoming election and its results.

While on the campaign trail last month, the former president told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "If everything's honest, I'll gladly accept the results. I don't change on that." The former president added: "If it's not, you have to fight for the right of the country."

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