Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) defended President Donald Trump’s trade war with China on Monday by arguing that the financial burden Americans are expected to endure for it is but a “minimal” sacrifice compared to soldiers who die overseas.
Cotton, a frequent supporter of the president, made the bizarre remark during an appearance on “CBS This Morning” to promote his new book, “Sacred Duty.” Co-host Nora O’Donnell had questioned him about a recent University of Arkansas study that found retaliatory tariffs by China could hurt farmers in his state.
“So these tariffs are going to end up hurting both Chinese and some Americans, I’ll grant you that,” Cotton responded. The military veteran, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, added, “There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans. … But I also would say that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas, that our fallen heroes who are laid to rest in [Arlington National Cemetery] make, that are right about sacred duty.”
The comment appeared to surprise co-host Gayle King, who interrupted to suggest it would clearly be wrong to compare the two sacrifices.
Twitter users bashed Cotton over his stunning “straw man” defense.
Trump recently announced that he’s seeking an additional $15 billion in U.S. subsidies to shield farmers from the financial impact his trade war with China is having. Some $12 billion has already been allocated to help farmers endure the fallout.
Last month the president called farmers “great patriots” who are willing to sacrifice because “they know they’re doing it for the country.”
He told reporters at the White House on Monday that he’s thrilled about his tariff face-off with China, despite a Goldman Sachs analysis that suggests American citizens and U.S. businesses will bear the brunt of the economic burden, as Politico reported.
“I love the position we’re in [with China],” Trump said. “Our farmers are going to be very well taken care of.”
Mary Papenfuss contributed reporting.