President Donald Trump on Sunday sounded off on the resignation of the editorial page editor of The New York Times following the publication of an incendiary op ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) calling for a military assault against anti-racist protesters.
Trump hailed Cotton’s op-ed, which characterized protests over George Floyd’s death during a brutal arrest as an “orgy of violence” by “insurrectionists.” The president deemed the tirade as “excellent” in a tweet, and slammed the Times, yet again, as “Fake News!!!” Trump added, inexplicably: “TRANSPARENCY!” and noted: “The State of Arkansas is very proud of Tom.”
Editor James Bennett admitted Friday that he had not read Cotton’s piece before it was published last Wednesday.
The op-ed unleashed a storm of controversy among readers and the Times’ own staff, who charged that Cotton’s inflammatory language fueled hatred and violence, and put Black Americans, including the newspaper’s own reporters, in danger.
Cotton’s op-ed is still available online, but now includes a lengthy editor’s note that the essay “fell short of our standards and should not have been published.” Cotton’s claims that protests were fueled by “cadres of left-wing radicals” and that police “bore the brunt” of any violence had not been substantiated, the Times noted.
Despite Trump’s clear support for Cotton’s position, Attorney General William Barr insisted on “Face The Nation” on CBS Sunday that Trump wasn’t clamoring for military troops to move on protesters, particularly during the violent crackdown last week on peaceful protesters as the president walked to a church for a photo-op.
The Washington Post reported Saturday, however, that Trump pressed for 10,000 troops to be sent into the capital. According to the Times, the National Guard was ordered by the Pentagon to crack down on protesters, or would send in active-duty units instead.