The Arkansas senator also argued that Washington, D.C., a majority-minority city, was not diverse in 'interest' or financially independent.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) on Thursday delivered a lengthy, racist speech from the chamber floor, denouncing a House bill that is likely to pass on Friday, which would make the District of Columbia a state.
The White House has already threatened to veto the bill if it makes it to Donald Trump's desk, though the Senate is unlikely to pass it.
Cotton slammed the legislation, arguing that D.C. was not worthy of statehood because it was made up of federal buildings and suggesting its Black mayors could not be trusted to "keep Washington safe."
He also claimed that, despite D.C.'s population being higher than larger states like Wyoming, which has voting representation in Congress, Wyoming had "diversity of interest," "financial independence," and was a "well-rounded working-class state."
From a Senate speech on June 25:
ARKANSAS SEN. TOM COTTON (R): Would you trust Mayor Bowser to keep Washington safe if she were given the powers of a governor? Would you trust Marion Barry? More important, should we risk the safety of our capital on such a gamble?
Now of course the Democrats will argue that the statehood bill doesn't entirely eliminate federal control of Washington because it preserves a small federal district that encompasses the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the National Mall, and a few other government buildings.
What a humbling demotion from the grand federal city that President Washington and Pierre L'Enfant envisioned more than 200 years ago which they hoped to rival Paris in size and ambition.
Washington also doesn't have the diversity of interest and financial independence that Madison explained were necessary for a well-functioning state.
Yes, Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging, and construction, and ten times as many workers in manufacturing. In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded, working-class state.
A new state of Washington would not be.
What about Alaska? It provides more than 60% of the nation's seafood, and its vital geography both protects the entire nation with missile defense systems and enables us to check Russian and Chinese ambitions in the arctic.
But what vital industries would the new state of Washington represent? Lobbying? Bureaucracy?
Give me a break.
By far, the largest group of workers in the city are bureaucrats and other white-collar professionals. This state would be nothing more than an appendage of the federal government, not separate from the government as a state ought to be.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.