Leftists spent the weekend smearing Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a two-time war veteran, after Salon, a progressive news outlet, reported that he lied about being an Army Ranger.
Salon reported on Saturday morning that Sen. Tom Cotton had repeatedly referred to himself as he was running for the Senate in 2012 as an “Army Ranger” or had said he volunteered to be an Army Ranger.
In fact, Cotton had attended and graduated from Ranger School, one of the toughest training courses in the Army whose graduates earn the Ranger tab and are often referred to as “Rangers.”
For example, when two women graduated from Ranger School, they were frequently referred to as “Army Rangers.”
As NBC News reported at the time, then-Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, who was commander of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, told graduates, “You’ll leave Victory Pond today with a small piece of cloth on your shoulder, but more importantly, you carry the title of Ranger from here on out.”
Then-Army Secretary John McHugh also called the graduates “Rangers” in a statement, according to the Washington Post. “Congratulations to all of our new Rangers,” he said in a statement.
Another article at the time, by Business Insider, was headlined, “These 2 badass female Army Rangers just made history — here’s the grueling training they endured,” and referred to them as Rangers throughout the article.
However, Salon reported that Cotton was not an “Army Ranger” since although he had graduated from Ranger School, he did not serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment, an Army special operations unit.
Ranger School and the 75th Ranger Regiment are distinct from one another. Those graduating from Ranger School do not automatically go on to the 75th Ranger Regiment, and those serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment do not have to be graduates of the Ranger School, although all of the unit’s officers and non-commissioned officers do.
Who can call themselves a “Ranger” has been debated enough that there are multiple articles about the difference between Ranger School and the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Despite the debate, the left accused Cotton — who has deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars in 2006 and 2008 — of “stolen valor.”
Radio show host Hugh Hewitt said he has interviewed Cotton for eight years and he never claimed to have served in the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the attacks against him are “scurrilous.”
“I’ve interviewed @SenTomCotton almost weekly for 8 years. He’s rightly proud of his service w/ 101st in Baghdad and w/ The Old Guard and of his Ranger Tab for Ranger School but never confused units or his service. Never claimed to have served in a Ranger unit. Scurrilous attack,” Hewitt tweeted.
Mike Davis, founder and president of Article3Project, who served as chief counsel for nominations for Senate Judiciary Committee, slammed the attacks as a smear on Cotton because they disagree with his politics.
“.@SenTomCotton went to Ranger School and fought with the 101st Airborne. He never said he was in the Ranger Regiment. The Left is smearing a combat veteran, simply because they don’t like his politics,” he tweeted.
Davis questioned why leftists were not attacking Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who claimed he was a Vietnam War veteran even though he did not serve in Vietnam.
“Q. Why aren’t these same leftwing bed-wetters attacking @SenBlumenthal, who completely fabricated serving in Vietnam? A. Because they agree with his politics,” he tweeted.
Retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant Jessie Jane Duff, co-chair of Veterans for Trump, also backed Cotton up:
Senator Tom Cotton never said he was in the Ranger Regiment. He did go to Ranger School and fought in combat in the 101st Airborne. This reporter is being dishonest and shamelessly disparaging Senator Cotton’s honorable service.
Marine veteran Greg Kelly slammed Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) for jumping into the fray and criticizing Cotton. Kelly tweeted:
“Keep an eye on Jason ‘SWIFT BOAT’ Crow. Starting a ridiculous feud with @SenTomCotton. I pay pretty close attention to military guys in Congress and Sen Cotton never implied that he was a Ranger. (As a Marine I’m not too impressed w/that anyway:) I want u two to play nice!”
Former Special Operations Command Commander and retired Army Gen. Tony Thomas also chastised Crow for starting a “ridiculous feud” with Cotton.
“First, wear your beret correctly. Second, you are a Congressman now, act like it. This is a dumb debate (feel pretty qualified to say that). Need you to focus on more important things for the good of the nation. You and @SenTomCotton get together and work like ‘Ranger buddies,'” Thomas tweeted.