WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Cotton believes the news media engaged in a “Stalin-like” cover-up of a Green New Deal document produced by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office.
During a discussion of the ambitious environmental resolution introduced last week by the freshman New York congresswoman, Cotton pointed to a “frequently asked questions” explainer released, and then retracted, as part of the resolution’s rollout.
The Arkansas Republican said in a radio interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show Tuesday that the document revealed a liberal ambition to “have the power and the control of those Americans’ lives to implement their radical vision for humanity.”
Cotton said it was “remarkable” how many Democratic presidential candidates “you had leap onto a proposal that was going to confiscate every privately owned vehicle in America within a decade, and ban air travel so we could all drive or ride around on high-speed light rail, supposedly powered by unicorn tears.”
Several ideas from the FAQ, which were not included in the actual resolution, were flagged and mocked by opponents to the legislation. The most widely derided lines included a call for “highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”; expanding public transit “with goals to replace every combustion-engine vehicle”; “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work” and a goal to “fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes.”
President Donald Trump referenced ideas from the FAQ in his criticism of the Green New Deal during his rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday.
Ocasio-Cortez has tried to distance herself from the FAQ. In a tweet on Saturday, she claimed that “doctored” Green New Deal documents were “floating around,” and that a “draft version” had been uploaded and then taken down.
Green New Deal: What is it and what does it mean for climate change?
More: Ocasio-Cortez hits back after Trump says her Green New Deal looks like high school paper
Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, said “an early draft” that “was clearly unfinished and that doesn’t represent the GND resolution got published to the website by mistake.”
Cotton called it “a classic example of a gaffe being when you say what you really mean.”
“I understand the Democrats that proposed this immediately tried to retract that white paper that went along with their resolution,” Cotton said. “And too many people in the media have been complicit in the Stalin-like or 1984 technique of disappearing it, sending it down the memory hole.”
Cotton did not specify how the news media were “complicit,” but many conservatives were outraged when a Washington Post fact check conceded on Monday that Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that the FAQ had been doctored was “misleading” but did not award her any “Pinocchios.”
Even without some of the ideas from the controversial FAQ, Cotton and other Republicans have made it clear that the Green New Deal resolution is too radical for them. As written, the document calls for “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” within 10 years and “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security to all people of the United States.”
On Wednesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., jumped at the opportunity to nail Democratic presidential hopefuls from the Senate down on their supportive positions of the resolution. He announced he plans to bring the resolution to the floor for a vote “to give everybody an opportunity to go on record to see how they feel about the Green New Deal.”
Most of the declared 2020 Democratic candidates have expressed support for the Green New Deal, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Klobuchar plans to vote for the resolution, but also implied she might not vote for it as written if it came to the Senate floor as “actual legislation.”
“I see it as aspirational, I see it as a jumpstart,” she said in an interview on Fox News Tuesday. “So I would vote yes, but I would also – if it got down to the nitty-gritty of an actual legislation as opposed to, ‘oh here’s some goals we have, that would be different for me.”
“I don’t agree with the unwilling to work,” she added.
Contributing: Ledyard King
Who is running for president?: Here’s a list of the candidates who have declared so far