HH: Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas joins me on a grim morning. 22 dead, 60 wounded in Manchester as a terrorist attacks the exiting teeny bopper crowd with their parents. Senator Cotton, we’ve talked on occasions like this before, unfortunately. There will be more in the future. Your reaction to this and to the President’s comment in Saudi Arabia that your souls will be fully condemned, an appeal for religious leaders to make that clear to their followers?
TC: Hugh, good morning. It is a sad morning after another horrific atrocity happening in Manchester last night, particularly appalling that it happened to teenagers and young children. It’s a reminder of the terrorist threat that we all face in the U.K., in the United States, and around the world. I strongly agree with President Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia to Arab Islamic leaders that not only must their governments combat terrorism on their own soil, that they must also stop the radicalization and the funding of terrorism from some of their private citizens and mosques, and the spread of that hateful ideology around the world, and that those leaders need to take responsibility for sharing that exact sentiment with their people, because ultimately, Western leaders, like Donald Trump or Theresa May or anyone else, can try to keep our country safe. But it’s ultimately going to have to be Arab and Islamic leaders like King Salman of Saudi Arabia or President al-Sisi of Egypt that speak to their own people and their own faith and have reform from within their faith.
HH: Senator Cotton, back in your Army days when you were walking platoon in Baghdad slums, you know firsthand what the President said in Saudi Arabia is true that Muslims suffer far more than anybody else in the world at the hands of the jihadists.
TC: Well, the vast majority of people killed by Islamic terrorists are other Muslims. I saw it in 2006 when Shiite and Sunni sects in terrorist organizations were committing atrocities against each other. And of course, the Islamic State’s number one target are other Muslims in Iraq and Syria as well. And while many Muslim terrorists have targeted the United States and targeted the West, we have also fought on behalf of Muslims who have been targeted around the world, whether it’s in Afghanistan or Iraq or Kuwait in 1990, or the Balkans in the 1990s as well. And that’s why we stand united with the countless Muslim victims of Muslim extremism.