GOP Sen. Cotton criticized for comments on dealing with Gaza protesters disrupting traffic

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., faced backlash Monday after he encouraged those stuck in traffic behind pro-Palestinian protesters to “take matters” into their own hands.

His comments come after hundreds of demonstrators, demanding a cease-fire in Gaza, blocked traffic in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and other major cities across the U.S.

The group who helped coordinate the effort, A15 Action, said on its website that “the global economy is complicit in genocide and together we will coordinate to disrupt and blockade economic logistical hubs and the flow of capital.''

Cotton wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that “I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic: take matters into your own hands. It's time to put an end to this nonsense.”

Cotton, a leading critic of President Joe Biden later edited his tweet to say that people should “take matters into your own hands to get them out of the way.”

Former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Favreau quickly blasted Cotton on X, saying that the lawmaker is “calling for vigilante violence.”

American author Jared Yates Sexton wrote on X that “It isn’t just that Tom Cotton is openly calling for his supporters to carry out violence, it’s how blood-curdlingly casual he is in calling for them to carry out violence.”

Some Twitter users compared Cotton’s latest remarks to ones he gave in a 2020 op-ed in the New York Times, in which he called on troops to relieve protests following George Floyd’s death.

Contributing: Susan Miller and Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tom Cotton tells people to take matters into their own hands on Gaza