Trump ally Tom Cotton accused of making misleading claims about military service

Graeme Massie
·2 min read
<p>Trump ally Tom Cotton accused of lying about military service</p> (Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump ally Tom Cotton accused of lying about military service

(Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

A Republican senator has been accused of making misleading claims about his military service.

Tom Cotton of Arkansas, an ally of Donald Trump, has embellished his honorable military record throughout his political career, according to a report in Salon.

During the lawmaker’s first run for Congress, Mr Cotton claimed he had been “a US Army Ranger in Iraq or Afghanistan” and a campaign ad stated that he “volunteered to be an Army Ranger.”

"My experience as a US Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan and my experience in business will put me in very good condition,” Mr Cotton told the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record in 2012.

But Mr Cotton, who served in the Army for eight years and was discharged as a captain with two commendation medals, a Bronze star and a Ranger tab, was never actually a part of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, Salon reported.

Instead, Mr Cotton spent two months at the Ranger School to take a small-unit tactical infantry training course that anyone in the military can do.

Soldiers who finish the course are allowed to wear a Ranger tab on their uniform, but they are not considered an Army Ranger.

The Rangers, who wear a distinctive tan beret, are considered the Army’s top fighting unit.

A Special Operations Command spokesperson confirmed that there is a difference between being an Army Ranger and being Ranger qualified, as a soldier is by completing the Army Ranger Course at Fort Eustis in Virginia.

“To be clear, as he’s stated many times, Senator Cotton graduated from Ranger School, earned the Ranger Tab, and served a combat tour with the 101st Airborne, not the 75th Ranger Regiment,” said Mr Cotton’s spokesperson Caroline Tabler.

Mr Cotton, a Harvard graduate, won election to the US Senate in 2014 at the age of 37.

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