Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined me this morning to discuss Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s declaration that the world is going to end in 12 years because of climate change, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s possible run for the United States Senate from Kansas, and the change that is coming to the Senate rules regarding time allocated for “debate” on nominees:
AOC: I think that the part of it that is generational is that millennials and people, and you know, Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we’re like the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change. And your biggest issue is, your biggest issue is how are we going to pay for it? And, like, this is the war, this is our World War II.
HH: So I’m Hugh Hewitt in the ReliefFactor.com studio. That’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And I’m joined by United States Senator Tom Cotton, who has not told me any earlier, and he’s on the Senate Intel Committee, that the world was ending in 12 years. Senator Cotton, why did you not let us know?
TC: Hey, Hugh, it’s good to be on with you. I guess we didn’t want to spark worldwide panic that the world would be ending in 12 years.
HH: Well, this changes my choice on Social Security in a few years. If it’s going to be done in 12, I’m definitely going in at 65 instead of 70.
TC: (laughing) I guess there are a lot of people that are going to have those kind of recalculations, Hugh.
HH: What about this is our World War II? I was unaware this was our World War II.
TC: Yeah, I would say that World War II was our World War II. And look, Hugh, everyone wants to have a healthy environment with clean air and clean water where our children can work the land or play in the forest or hunt or fish, and we can all be healthy. There’s way to address these concerns. You know, a lot of people on the left, though, have an ideological bias against very simple solutions to try to reduce carbon emissions, such as building more nuclear power plants. That’s the kind of conversation we should be having to address the American people’s legitimate desires for clean, healthy environment.
HH: Absolutely. Nuclear power. Nuclear power. Nuclear power.
TC: Yeah, well, I mean, so much of the radical environmental left is just camouflage for, you know, a radical anti-capitalist viewpoint. And you know, so many people on the left support power sources until they become viable. So nuclear was great until it became viable. And then solar and wind and hydro is great until, you know, it started killing birds with windmills and catching dolphins in traps and so on and so forth. I mean, we have to have power to generate new jobs and continue to create more wealth for the American people. Again, the radical environmental left has often thwarted efforts to address the American people’s desire for a clean, healthy environment by blocking new nuclear power plants for the last 40 years.
HH: I want to switch subjects. Your buddy, Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, you two are good friends. Is he going to run for Senate?
TC: Well, Hugh, you’re right that I’ve known Secretary Pompeo now for about seven years. He was the very first person to call me and contribute to me as a member of Congress in my first campaign for the House, and we were close friends in the House of Representatives. We talk pretty frequently, usually about his diplomatic efforts or my legislative efforts. But I know that he’s flattered that so many of my senators think that he would make a great senator. I certainly believe he would be an outstanding senator. I would hate to see him go as the Secretary of State. He’s going very important work for the President. But I also know that that seat could possibly be competitive. But if Mike Pompeo is the nominee for that Senate seat, it will not be a competitive primary or general election, and the United States Senate will have a great new senator for many years to come.
HH: Do you want him to do it?
TC: That’s really a decision for Secretary Pompeo and his wife, Susan, and the President as well. I know that he would have universal support with inside the Senate Republican caucus, and I suspect universal support from most Kansans as well. Mike was a very strong politician back in his electoral days winning contested primaries, beating a Congressman that came back to run against him, beating some very formidable Democratic opponents as well.
HH: Now like your new colleague, Mitt Romney, he’d have to work hard to keep the total under 80% and make it look like it was a real election. The question is, though, I think he could serve another year as Secretary of State before the filing deadline without violating any law and just people stay out of the primary. Do you agree with me? He can stay in that job as Secretary of State for another full year.
TC: Well, yeah, Hugh, if I recall, Kansas has something of a late primary, I think maybe sometime in early August. Normally, states’ filing deadlines for these races are 60 or 80 days, 60, 90 days before a primary. So I suspect that Secretary Pompeo could serve for maybe all of this year and maybe another, you know, 16, 18 months before he would have to make a decision. And given his stature, given his accomplishments as CIA director and the Secretary of State, and given how beloved he is by the people of Kansas, I believe that he could make a very late decision. And again, were he to run, I can’t imagine credible opposition in either the primary or the general election.
HH: Yeah, I would advise everyone thinking about running, don’t do that. Let me quickly turn to changing the rules of the Senate. Yesterday, Todd Young, your colleague from Indiana, said it’s going to happen next week. We’re tired of the delay. We’re going to go down to change the time available pre and post cloture to debate a nominee. If you go down to two hours, pre and post, you’ll be able to confirm 15 nominees in the time of one. Is that happening next week?
TC: I hope so, Hugh. I hope it’ll happen very early. We should have done this long ago. The Democrats have abused the rules of the Senate for two years to blockade President Trump’s judicial nominations and his executive branch nominees. And then what is particularly galling, they turn around and criticize people like Mike Pompeo for not having their undersecretaries and assistant secretaries in place. So your listeners know the situation. There’s 30 hours of debate once debate is closed. Now only in the U.S. Senate could that be the standard. But the Democrats would drag out time so we’d have 30 hours of no debate. There’d be nobody on the floor debating these district judge nominees or some under assistant secretary no one’s ever heard of, and then they’d pass with almost a unanimous vote. So we should cut that down to two, four, six hours at most.
HH: Two hours, I hope. But do you think it’s happening next week?
TC: The sooner the better, Hugh.
HH: The sooner the better. That’s still not a yes or a no, but I’ll let you go because I’m out of time. Senator Tom Cotton, always a pleasure. Remember, if it’s 12 years, I need to know about it.
End of interview.