The underlying premise of being an elected official is that you are supposed to listen to your constituents. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, however, evidently doesn’t want to do this.
According to the activist group Ozark Indivisible, the Republican’s office has been mailing out cease and desist letters to a number of constituents, demanding they stop any attempt at communication with the senator.
In an email to Splinter, Cotton’s communications director Caroline Rabbitt Tabler said this was happening only because people were being mean to him (emphasis mine):
Senator Cotton is always happy to hear from Arkansans and encourages everyone to contact his offices to express their thoughts, concerns, and opinions. In order to maintain a safe work environment, if an employee of Senator Cotton receives repeated communications that are harassing and vulgar, or any communication that contains a threat, our policy is to notify the U.S. Capitol Police’s Threat Assessment Section and, in accordance with their guidance, send a cease and desist letter to the individual making the harassing or threatening communication. These letters are rare and only used under extreme circumstances.
Pointedly, Rabbitt Tabler did not answer my specific questions about either the nature of the communications that prompted these cease and desist letters or how many people they were mailed to over the past six months.
The Arkansas Times, however, published an account on Thursday from one of the people claiming to have received the letter, and they do not sound like a vulgar harasser.
I received a letter from the office of U.S. Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas after calling and expressing my grave concerns over his actions and support of this administration’s agenda concerning a wide variety of subjects from the attack on our healthcare, DACA and immigration issues, to national security, to the rise of white nationalist fascism, to the environment, the gutting of our State Department, the attack on the free press...and similar deeply troubling actions & motives I’ve seen Senator Cotton support & condone.
While the recipient notes that he “may have used unprofessional and unbecoming language at times,” it’s hard to see why Cotton might find that so troubling, considering how much stock he himself reportedly put in the semantic differences between “shithole” and “shithouse,” one of which President Trump allegedly said during an immigration meeting last week.
What’s more, Times contributor Billy Fleming also claimed to know several other people who also received Cotton’s cease and desist, telling the paper that “he believed they all had made repeated phone calls to deliver similar talking points, but [...] they were unlikely to have made rude or disparaging remarks.”
So, who to believe? Citizens insisting they’ve done nothing but passionately exercise their constitutional rights, or a senator who just this week devoted himself to covering for Trump’s racism?
Hmmm, it’s truly hard to say. Perhaps you should reach out to Sen. Cotton’s office and ask him yourself. Just remember to please be polite.