Sen. Cotton: Republicans 'Don't Have a Single Leader'

Susan Jones | November 14, 2022 | 6:31am EST
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President Donald Trump makes an immigration announcement, flanked by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, on August 2, 2017. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump makes an immigration announcement, flanked by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, on August 2, 2017. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

( - "Should Mr. Trump remain the leader of the Republican Party?" Margaret Brennan, host of CBS's "Face the Nation" asked Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Sunday.

"Well, Margaret, when the party -- when any party is out of power, as Republicans are now, we don't have a single leader," Cotton replied.

Cotton was speaking two days before Donald Trump is expected to announce his third run for president.

"The former president is obviously very popular with many of our voters," Cotton continued:

"But we also have important other leaders as well, like some of those victors I just mentioned earlier, like Brian Kemp in Georgia, Ron DeSantis in Florida. Last year, you had Glen Youngkin have a great victory in a bluish democratic state like Virginia. I hope to remain a leader in the United States Senate as well, in addition to people like some of those I just mentioned who were reelected, like Tim Scott.

"So, when you're in opposition, you don't have a single leader. That won't be the case until we're through the '24 -- '24 nominating season, and we have -- and we have a new nominee."

Cotton has said he does not intend to run for president in 2024. But what about 2028? Cotton is just out with a new book, called "Only the Strong," and writing a book seems to be a prerequisite for any serious candidate.

"Since I opted against being a candidate in 2024, I -- I don't plan to be a pundit or a strategist in 2024," Cotton said on Sunday.

"I know everyone already wants to focus on 2024. I just want to remind everyone that we're still in the middle of the 2022 midterm, because we're in overtime in Georgia.

"And the most important thing we can do is elect Herschel Walker to make sure that we can keep the pressure on Democrats in the Senate not to veer far to the left, as they have over the last two years. That's where I think everyone should remain focused for these next three weeks."

On the topic of the midterms, Cotton looked on the bright side.

"Well, Margaret, I wouldn't say it was a complete disappointment," Cotton said:

“On the one hand, we had strong Republican leaders running on positive records of accomplishments who won very big victories, if you look at governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Mike DeWine in Ohio, Kim Reynolds in Iowa, Greg Abbott in Texas. We had senators with the same victories, like Marco Rubio in Florida and Tim Scott in South Carolina, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

“But, on the other hand, obviously, we hoped that we would have won more seats. I think the lessons in our victories can be applied to some places where we came up a little bit short. We need to focus on serious substantive accomplishments and issues like crime, like our wide-open border, like addressing runaway inflation.

“Even in places where we came up a little bit short, like Lee Zeldin's race for governor in New York, he performed very well, compared to Republicans in recent elections, and he probably helped save the House of Representatives by bringing four new Republican congressmen-elect across the finish line in New York.

"So, I think we have lessons in the places we had victories that we can apply to places where we were disappointed."

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