Republican Senator from Arkansas Tom Cotton has called the enslavement of millions of Africans “the necessary evil upon which the union was built.”
Cotton, widely regarded as a potential presidential candidate in 2024, made the comment in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday.
He was speaking out in favor of legislation he introduced on Thursday that seeks to ban the use of federal funds to teach Project 1619, a New York Times initiative that reframe U.S. history circa August 1619 and the arrival of slave ships on American shores for the first time.
Cotton’s Saving American History Act of 2020 and “would prohibit the use of federal funds to teach Project 1619 by K-12 schools or school districts,” according to a statement from the senator’s office.
“The whole premise of The New York Times’ factually and historically flawed 1619 Project … is that America is at the root, a systemically racist and irremediable country,” Cotton told the Democrat-Gazette.
“I reject this root and this branch. America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created on an equal footing. We have always struggled to keep that promise, but no country has ever done more to make it happen. “
He added, “We need to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we cannot understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a certain way, like [Abraham] Lincoln said, to put slavery on the road to its ultimate extinction.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, who received this year’s Pulitzer Prize for his comments for his introductory essay on Project 1619, said on Friday that Bill Cotton “is more about the power of journalism than anything I do.” have never done in my career ”.
On Sunday, she tweeted: “If movable property slavery – hereditary, generational, permanent, race-based slavery where it was legal to rape, torture and sell human beings for profit – was an ‘evil necessary ‘as Tom Cotton says, it’s hard to imagine what can’t be justified if it’s a means to an end.
“Imagine thinking that a program that did not divide is one that tells black children that the buying and selling of their ancestors, the rape, torture and forced labor of their ancestors for PROFIT, was that a “necessary evil” for the creation of the “noblest”. “Country the world has never seen.
“So was slavery the foundation of the Union it was built on, or not?” You heard it from Tom Cotton himself.
Cotton replied, “No more lies from Project 1619 debunked. Describing the views of the founders and how they put the evil institution on the brink of extinction, a point frequently made by Lincoln, is not to endorse or justify slavery. It is not surprising that Project 1619 could not understand the facts correctly.
In June, The Times was forced to run a mea culpa after it ran an op-ed written by Cotton titled “Send the Troops.” The article, which drew much criticism, called for the deployment of the military in protests against police brutality against black Americans.
Times publisher AG Sulzberger initially defended the move, saying the newspaper was committed to representing “views from all walks of life.”
But The Times then released a statement claiming the editorial did not meet its editorial standards, which led to the resignation of editorial page director James Bennet.