Jake Tapper Challenges Tom Cotton on His 2020 Claim Trump Would Accept Election Results | Video

CNN’s Jake Tapper confronted Sen. Tom Cotton on Sunday about his claim back in 2020 that Donald Trump would willingly accept the results of that election. Tapper played Cotton an interview they had in September 2020, where Tapper noted Republicans were among those alarmed that Trump hadn’t agreed to abide by a peaceful transfer of power if he lost. At the time, Cotton responded, “He’s since said that if there’s a clear winner at this court-settled contested election, that, of course he will. But the premise of the question that you just played me, Jake, is that the president is going to lose. I don’t think the president’s going to lose, the president is going to win.”

Now in 2024 on Sunday’s “State of the Union,” Cotton responded, “I think the president has said, as I have said about this election, of course, we will accept the results if the results are from fair and free elections. Every candidate in any race has a right to go to court to seek legal redress.”

“If they think there’s been any kind of fraud or cheating, if they think a state or a city didn’t follow the rules or customary practices of their elections, I think that that’s reasonable for President Trump to say,” Cotton continued. “It’s reasonable for any candidate for any office in America to believe.”

Tapper agreed, but pointed out the obvious: “That’s not what happened in 2020.” Trump infamously brought his refusal to accept the election results all the way to the Supreme Court, who rejected the case in February 2021.

When reminded of that fact, Cotton swapped tactics and went directly at addressing the events of Jan. 6, 2021. He told Tapper that “there was a protest in Washington that got out of hand, and it became a riot, and as I’ve said from the very beginning, anyone who injured a law enforcement officer or committed acts of violence on Jan. 6 at the Capitol should be prosecuted and face severe consequences.”

“Again, that’s unlike Democrats who won’t prosecute violent protesters, for instance, from Democratic street militias outside the homes of Supreme Court justices or defacing statues of veterans right across from the White House,” Cotton claimed.

“Anyone who commits acts of violence, in my opinion, should be prosecuted and face severe consequences,” he concluded.

“So you disagree when Donald Trump says, as President, he’ll consider pardoning every one of the Jan. 6 rioters convicted in court?” Tapper asked.

“He didn’t say he would,” Cotton replied. “No, he said ‘consider it.’ ‘Consider it.’ I think what that means is what he did in his first term.”

“He’d take each case for a pardon request on a case-by-case basis, and I do think there’s a strong case for many of the defendants to be pardoned, because they didn’t engage in acts of violence,” Cotton said.

After Tapper contrasted Cotton’s “tough law and order stance on everything” — such as Black Lives Matter protesters — “other than these issues here that have to do with President Trump and his supporters,” Cotton insisted the “same techniques that were used for every grandma and MAGA hat who was within a country mile of the Capitol on Jan. 6th are not being used [by Democrats] for the street militias who protested outside Supreme Court justices’ homes or the pro-Hamas lunatics who were defacing statues of veterans or who occupied college campuses last month.”

Watch an excerpt from the interview between Cotton and Tapper in the video above or see their full interview here.

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