Over the weekend, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) appeared at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where he participated in a forum with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. The Republican senator, who’s on record supporting Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, was asked to make the affirmative case for the presumptive GOP nominee. Cotton balked and changed the subject to Hillary Clinton.
So, Goldberg asked again, looking for the “positive case” for Trump, without regard to his Democratic opponent. Again, Cotton dodged and complained about Clinton. To his credit, Goldberg kept trying, asking the right-wing senator to say something complimentary about the presidential candidate he supports. The Arkansas lawmaker wouldn’t budge.
A day later, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd picked up where Jeffrey Goldberg left off.
[W]hen asked repeatedly, Cotton declined to make a positive case for why Donald Trump is the better candidate. “Donald Trump can ultimately make the case for himself,” he said. […]Asked how he squares Donald Trump’s foreign policy worldview with his own, Cotton did not directly answer, instead indicating a president from either party could be stopped by the Senate.
“It’s important to remember that whatever the presidential candidates of either party say, they will have to interact with the United States Congress, particularly the Senate, when it comes to crafting policy,” Cotton said, adding, “[W]e play an important role. And I’m going to continue to play that role whoever is president.”
When the host asked, simply, “What’s the case for Trump?” Cotton apparently couldn’t think of anything, replying, “Well, Chuck, the case against Hillary Clinton’s judgment in foreign policy is….”
It was difficult to watch a sitting U.S. senator struggle to say literally anything positive about the man who wants to be president in five months. But let’s also not forget that, according to various media reports, Tom Cotton is being considered for Trump’s ticket as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee.
Sure, there have been some national tickets in which the presidential candidate and his running mate didn’t see eye to eye, but if Cotton is going to be considered for national office, the Arkansas Republican should probably come up with something nice to say about his party’s White House hopeful.
What are voters to think about a major-party presidential nominee whose allies can’t think of anything positive to say about him?