'Obelisk of Wokeness': Sen. Tom Cotton Fears the Washington Monument Will Be Renamed

Senator Tom Cotton has weighed in on the debate about the future of monuments across the U.S. now under scrutiny as part of a wider discourse about race and colonialism.

Protests following the death of George Floyd have propelled sentiment against Confederate statues and monuments commemorating the explorer Christopher Columbus. There are also calls, dismissed by President Donald Trump, to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders.

On the Senate floor on Thursday, the Arkansas Republican described his concerns that the protesters' antipathy towards such monuments would widen and soon reach the Capitol.

"This woke mob could very soon be coming for any one of you," he said in the wide-ranging speech in which he cited as examples of "cancel culture" such as student objections which stopped a planned commencement speech at Wichita State University by Ivanka Trump.

Sen. Tom Cotton
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) at the U.S. Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

"What is the end of the cancel culture? I will tell you what it is. It is right here, in this city, Washington, the District of Columbia. That is where it will end if we don't put an end to the madness now.

"Just up the mall is the Washington Monument. Are we going to tear the Washington Monument down?

"Are we going to rename it 'the obelisk of wokeness,'" he said, before expressing fears for the future names of the Washington National Cathedral and the capital city itself.

On social media, some took a lighter view of Cotton's concerns, such as Gary Steyngart, who tweeted: "The Obelisk of Wokeness is the world's tallest and wokest obelisk. Originally called the Washington Monument it was renamed to celebrate the defeat of Donald Trump & his racist minions in 2020."

Sen. Tom Cotton: "Are we going to tear the Washington Monument down? Are we going to rename it the Obelisk of Wokeness?" pic.twitter.com/gPTACs2Ep6

— The Hill (@thehill) June 11, 2020

Journalist Elise Foley tweeted: "You have to admit that Obelisk of Wokeness sounds cool as hell," and author Michael W. Twitty tweeted: "The Obelisk of Wokeness" sounds like an album the B52s regretted recording."

Meanwhile, Mark Pitcavage tweeted: "I'm pretty sure Obelisk of Wokeness is favored to win the Preakness this year."

Last week, Cotton used the "woke" epithet to disparage The New York Times after it said it regretted publishing his op-ed which called for the federal government to respond militarily to quell unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Following a backlash from many in its newsroom, the newspaper said the piece did not meet its editorial standards, prompting Cotton to tell Fox News' decision followed pressure from the "woke mob, of woke kids that are in their newsroom."