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Tom Cotton condemns mob siege of Capitol: 'It shouldn't matter what signs they carry'

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'There's no acceptable basis for mob violence in this country for political purposes'

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Thursday condemned the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, denouncing political violence in all forms.

"Mob violence is never an acceptable form of political expression," Cotton said during an interview on Fox News.

Yesterday, what began as a protest in support of President Donald Trump and an effort by some Republican lawmakers to object to the certification of the Electoral College results in Congress turned into violence as a mob laid siege to the Capitol. The mob, angry at Congress for attempting to affirm Joe Biden as president-elect, assaulted police officers, illegally trespassed on government property, and ransacked and looted government offices. One woman was fatally shot by Capitol police, and three other people died of medical complications during the riot.

Also, a pipe bomb was found and safely detonated at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee, and a suspicious package was discovered at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.

Lawmakers were forced to evacuate during the siege, but were able to return and complete the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election Wednesday night after the Capitol was cleared by law enforcement.

Cotton told Fox News that the mob was wrong and such violence should put down by law enforcement.

"Last summer a lot of critics on the left said that I should not have said that we should use all available means of law enforcement to put down mob violence when insurrectionists gripped our streets, even if that meant sending in the troops. Yesterday, though, there's no difference," Cotton said.

"It shouldn't matter what kind of signs the mob carries before they become violent. There's no acceptable basis for mob violence in this country for political purposes," he added.

After speaking about the riots yesterday, the "Fox & Friends" panel asked Cotton about Tuesday's runoff Senate election results and how Republicans will respond to the the incoming Democratic majority.

"This is going to be a very, very closely divided Congress. It's literally evenly divided in the Senate, 50-50 now. And in the House the Democrats have one of the smallest margins in modern times," Cotton said.

"So what the Republicans need to do now that this election is behind us is to focus on the radical agenda of the Democrats, because they're coming in with a plan to raise your taxes and to defund the police, to slash military spending, to open our borders, and we cannot allow that to happen," he added.

"We've got to organize and we've got to concentrate on protecting everything that we believe and that we think is good for this country," the senator said.

Asked why the GOP lost, Cotton indicated that Republicans were off message in the weeks leading up to the election.

"I think a very simple and very clear message over the last two months would've been that Sens. Perdue and Loeffler and a Republican Senate majority will provided a check and balance on the Biden administration. However, we spend too much time on other matters rather than that clear and simple matter," he explained, without mentioning specifically what "other matters" he referred to.

Cotton also criticized some of his GOP colleagues, charging that they misled Trump supporters into believing that Congress could overturn the results of the election. Though he did not call out anyone by name, on Wednesday Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were among those who led the objection to the slate of electors from Arizona, voicing concerns from constituents who believe the election was fraudulent.

"You have some senators who, for political advantage, were giving false hope to their supporters, misleading them into thinking that somehow yesterday's actions in Congress could reverse the results of the election or even get some kind of emergency audit of the election result," Cotton said.

"That was never going to happen, yet these senators, as insurrectionists literally stormed the Capitol, were sending out fundraising emails. That shouldn't have happened and it's got to stop now."

Cotton went on to call for an independent commission to review the 2020 election, study how the pandemic may have affected the process, and suggest reforms to restore the American people's faith in the electoral process going forward.

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