Tom Cotton Calls Critical Race Theory 'Left-Wing Nonsense,' Seeks Military Ban

Senator Tom Cotton plans to propose a bill that would ban the U.S. military from promoting critical race theory, which he has branded "left-wing nonsense."

The Arkansas Republican said the theory promoted the idea that people could be "inherently inferior" or racist based on the colour of their skin, and claimed his bill was designed to ensure troops were "trained to love their country."

First revealed by CityJournal, the text of the senator's bill also labels critical race theory "anti-American" and frets that including such ideas in military training could "demoralize and divide" U.S. troops.

Speaking to Fox News last night, Sen. Cotton said: "Our armed forces should not be endorsing, recommending or requiring for training any of this left-wing nonsense that any race is inherently inferior, or racist or oppressive."

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on February 26. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"When young men and women raise their hand and join our military, they should know that they are fighting for a great and noble nation," he added. "I want to make sure that all of our young troopers are trained to love their country, and to defend the country that they love so much."

It is not clear that critical race theory has any central role in U.S. military training. However, the U.S. Military Academy Library at West Point includes one textbook about the topic in a reading list for a behavioral science and leadership course.

Newsweek has contacted Sen. Cotton's office for further comment. The Pentagon has also been contacted for comment.

The Arkansas Republican proposed his ban less than three months after Chris Miller, who was then acting defense secretary, Miller announced members of an eight-person commission to rename military bases called after Confederate leaders.

The mandate to rename bases was tied in with the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill for military and defense spending. Former President Donald Trump had said he would "not consider" renaming bases. But the measure passed thanks to a congressional override.

"To suggest that these forts were somehow inherently racist in their names and need to be changed is a complete disrespect to the men and women with the last bit of American land they saw before they went overseas and lost their lives for these forts," said Kayleigh McEnany, then White House press secretary, at the time.

Axios reported last week that Trump-era appointees on the commission to rename bases had been removed and replaced with members who reportedly took a more critical view of the past.