Sen. Tom Cotton takes heat for claim of Army Ranger status



An incendiary new report blasts GOP Sen. Tom Cotton for past claims to have served as an Army Ranger — but had to reach back to his first run for Congress, in 2012, to do it.

“I did become an infantry officer and an Army Ranger,” Cotton, then an Army reservist running for Congress after a four-year infantry stint that included two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in a 2011 interview with an Arkansas news station.

In fact, according to, Cotton was never a member of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, but merely a graduate of the Army’s Ranger School, a tactical infantry course that thousands of service members attend annually.

The report — which cites no examples of Cotton repeating the claim of Ranger status in his 2014 Senate run or in the years since — drew a furious response from Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), who did serve with the special-operations force.

“Hey SenTomCotton unless you wore one of these berets you shouldn’t be calling yourself a Ranger,” Crow tweeted over a photo of himself in the unit’s distinctive headgear. “Truth matters.”

In his current Senate biography, Cotton, 43, a Trump-supporting conservative seen as a future GOP presidential candidate, makes no claim to Ranger status — but includes the Ranger Tab, the insignia given to graduates of the Ranger School, among his other military decorations.

“Senator Cotton graduated from Ranger school,” Cotton spokesperson Caroline Tabler told Salon in an email, “and is more of a Ranger than a Salon reporter like you will ever be.”


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