SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., spoke to northwest Iowa Republicans at a Republican Party of Iowa reception at the Dean Family Auto Museum in Sioux Center.
Approximately 200 listened to Cotton’s introductory remarks and a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, led by Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann.
There has been speculation about Cotton running for president in 2024, and his trip to Iowa will undoubtedly fuel that speculation. He last spoke in Iowa two years ago in 2019 at the FAMiLY Leadership Summit.
During his remarks, Cotton promised not to pander like other politicians but then joked, “I’m just going to say I’m the only one who loves you so much that I’m married a girl born in Iowa.”
His wife, Anna, was born in Sioux City.
Cotton said he learned in the Army that “you got to do the hard right over the easy wrong.”
“The easy thing will sometimes be comfortable. It’ll be convenient. It’ll be safe. But you have to do the right thing specifically because it may be uncomfortable. It may be inconvenient, it may be dangerous, but it’s still the right thing,” he explained.
Cotton likened that lesson to when he spoke out about the origins of COVID-19 and was criticized in the press.
“Sometimes, you do have to do the hard thing because it’s the right thing. Sometimes in this day and age, the right thing is simply telling the truth in the face of a hostile media,” he stated. “Early last year, I was raising the alarm about the coronavirus. And I said at that time, you know, maybe we should look into this lab and Wu Han as the possible origin of that virus. And where did the media say, ‘Oh, that’s a debunked lie. It’s a conspiracy theory. It’s xenophobia. It’s racism.’ I don’t know about you. It seemed like common sense to me.”
“Well, where are we now? A year later. We were right. And they were wrong. And China has been lying all along. It’s time, ladies and gentlemen, to lower the boom on China for their decades of lying and cheating and stealing and yes, unleashing a plague on the world,” Cotton added.
He then stated that sometimes “the hard thing” is “standing up to Joe Biden’s Democrats.”
“We have so many threats to our way of life. It’s not even clear where to focus at the time. Just consider what’s happening in the streets of our cities all across America. We’re seeing a crime wave of an precedented proportion. Why are we seeing that crime wave? It’s because the Democrats, for years, have been letting criminals out of jail, refusing to send them to jail in the first place, and now are attacking our police and threatening to defund them,” Cotton stated.
He later criticized the Biden Administration’s handling of the southern border.
“We’ve got chaos in our streets. We obviously have chaos on the border as well. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris inherited the most secure border in modern times. Yeah, what did they do? Did they finish the border wall? Did they keep in place the highly effective policies and secure the border? No, they declared that it was open borders. That is what they campaigned on after all,” Cotton stated.
He criticized Biden’s proposed tax hikes, including eliminating the “stepped up basis” that would increase the federal estate tax.
“This proposal would be even worse than the estate tax. And at a time when a family is trying to overcome loss. It would send the tax man to their door causing the sale the family farm or the family business, just to pay off. Joe Biden’s runaway spending in Washington,” Cotton argued.
He criticized the Biden Administration’s plans to eliminate farmer’s debt since it is limited to persons of color, calling it an “official policy of racial discrimination.”
Cotton said that wasn’t a surprise.
“(Democrats have) been fanning the flames of racial division across the country for the last year, pushing it in our military, and in schools, even down to kindergarten and first grade, what they call critical race theory – the idea that America is deeply and irredeemably flawed, that is built not on freedom, but on racism, indoctrinating our kids with it. I think this may be the most dangerous threat of all. It may not manifest itself immediately. But if we win elections next year, if we put the brakes on the Biden agenda, if we win in 2024, that’s all for the better. If we however, let the left indoctrinate an entire generation of our kids to hate America. What will we have gained?” he asked.
Cotton encouraged conservatives not to back down.
“At a time when conservatives are under attack. And America is under assault. We will never back down. We will never surrender. We will never retreat. We will always stand up and do what is right by this great nation,” he stated, concluding his remarks.
Listen to his full remarks and Q&A session with Ernst and Grassley below: