Tom Cotton Says New York Times 'Tucked Tail' over His Op-Ed Because of 'Woke Kids'

Senator Tom Cotton has taken aim at The New York Times for saying that publishing his op-ed, which called for the federal government to provide a military response to quell unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, did not meet its editorial standards.

The piece by the Arkansas Republican published on Wednesday, advocating the deployment of the military against protesters, sparked a backlash. A number of Times journalists spoke out on Twitter, posting the same message: "Running this puts Black @nytimes staffers in danger."

The Times initially defended the piece, which was headlined "Send In The Troops," saying that the paper wanted to represent views from across the spectrum. It later issued a mea culpa, blaming it on a "rushed editorial process...that did not meet our standards."

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing for Rep. on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC on May 5, 2020. He has slammed the New York Times for rowing back on an op-ed he wrote about the protests in the U.S. Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Following the paper's statement, Cotton told Fox News: "I can tell you my op-ed doesn't meet The New York Times' standards. It far exceeds their standards, which are normally full of left-wing sophomoric drivel.

"And I find it amazing that in the last 24 hours, the editor of The New York Times and the publisher of The New York Times have both defended their decision to publish this op-ed, but in the face of the 'woke' mob, of 'woke' kids that are in their newsroom, they tucked tail and they ran," he told The Story.

The row back by the paper followed an outcry that included a letter of complaint signed by over 800 staff members, who also argued that Cotton's essay contained misinformation, such as his claims about the role of "antifa" in the protests.

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in a statement: "We're planning to examine both short-term and long-term changes, to include expanding our fact-checking operation and reducing the number of op-eds we publish."

But Cotton told host Martha MacCallum that the paper's stance showed that they had "confessed and said they're going to go into reeducation camp." He cited a Morning Consult poll which found that 58 percent of Americans supported using the U.S. military to help tackle the protests.

Cotton continued: "They were going to cut the number of op-eds they write. And for that ... I will say to the world, 'you're welcome for getting The New York Times to run less of the garbage that you normally see in their pages.'"

Newsweek has contacted The New York Times for a response to Cotton's criticism.

The paper's opinion columnist, Michelle Goldberg, weighed up the merits of the decision to run Cotton's piece, writing in an op-ed on Thursday that she "can sort of appreciate" the move.

"I wasn't as horrified as perhaps I should have been; I figured he'd helpfully revealed himself as a dangerous authoritarian. But as I've seen my colleagues' anguished reaction, I've started to doubt my debating-club approach to the question of when to air proto-fascist opinions."