Tom Cotton has a new theory that melds Islamic State terrorists, Mexican drug cartels and illegal immigration into a fiery ball of paranoia.
In a recent tele-town hall, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate attacked Sen. Mark Pryor (D) as weak on national security, telling constituents that Muslim extremists from ISIL are working with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the U.S. border and attack Arkansans, as first reported by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent.
“Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking, and potentially even terrorism,” Cotton said. “They could infiltrate our defenseless southern border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas. This is an urgent problem. And it’s time we got serious about it. And I’ll be serious about it in the United States Senate.”
Cotton campaign spokesman David Ray didn’t immediately return TPM’s request for comment, but defended Cotton’s remarks to Sargent with links to reports in various conservative outlets — Town Hall, Fox News, World Net Daily, Free Beacon, and Breitbart — which quoted figures speculating or asserting plans by ISIL to sneak into the U.S. through the Mexican border. Theories along those lines have been echoed by various national Republicans.
Obama administration officials say there is no intelligence to suggest that ISIL members are operating in Mexico near the border.
Listen to Cotton’s remarks below, via Sargent, starting around 10:50.