Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) skipped several hours of the impeachment trial to talk to members of the administration about coronavirus, a new report says — further proof impeachment distracted most of Congress at a crucial time.
Cotton told Breitbart News Sunday in late February that every conversation he had with President Donald Trump since January had involved coronavirus.
“I can tell you the president is very much on top of the threat that we face from coronavirus,” he said. “In fact, probably every conversation I’ve had with him for the last month has involved, at least in part, coronavirus.”
In a profile Tuesday, “The Senator Who Saw the Coronavirus Coming,” National Review — citing the Arkansas Gazette — notes that Cotton also skipped three hours of the Senate impeachment trial to speak with administration officials whom he was pressuring to act against China on the virus.
The Gazette reported in January:
While his Senate colleagues were focusing on the president’s removal or acquittal, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., spent much of this week sounding the alarm about the coronavirus.
As a result, he has missed several stretches of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
The lawmaker from Dardanelle has branded the impeachment a “sham.” The coronavirus, on the other hand, is “the biggest and the most important story in the world,” he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during its hearing Thursday morning.
Democrats this week have mocked the idea that impeachment distracted the government from fighting coronavirus.
But while President Trump acted — forming a coronavirus task force Jan. 27, chairing its meeting Jan. 29, banning travel with China Jan. 31, and telling Congress about the virus in his State of the Union on Feb. 4 — Congress did nothing.
The Democrat-run House held its first subcommittee hearing on coronavirus Feb. 5 — the day that Trump was acquitted in the Senate.
Only by breaking the rules, and skipping the trial, was Cotton able to get anything done.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.