NY Times Editorial Page Editor Resigns Following Sen. Tom Cotton Op-ed

June 7, 2020 Updated: June 8, 2020

The New York Times editorial page editor resigned following outrage over an opinion piece from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) who advocated using federal troops to quell sometimes violent protests, riots, arson, and looting in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

James Bennet, who had overseen the NY Times’ opinion pages since 2016, stepped down effective immediately, the liberal newspaper said in a statement on Sunday.

Cotton’s op-ed, titled “Send in the Troops” and posted online on Wednesday, caused anger among some of the NY Times’ editorial staff, with some calling in sick on Thursday in protest. The NY Times later said the piece didn’t meet its standards.

Bennet also apologized after defending publishing the article.

“The journalism of Times Opinion has never mattered more than in this time of crisis at home and around the world, and I’ve been honored to be part of it,” Bennet said in a statement. “I’m so proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to focus attention on injustice and threats to freedom and to enrich debate about the right path forward by bringing new voices and ideas to Times readers.”

And Cotton criticized the paper for distancing itself from his article.

Sen. Tom Cotton
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) speaks to the media after attending a briefing with administration officials about the situation with Iran, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 8, 2020. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“The New York Times editorial page editor and owner defended it in public statements but then they totally surrendered to a woke child mob from their own newsroom that apparently gets triggered if they’re presented with any opinion contrary to their own, as opposed to telling the woke children in their newsroom this is the workplace, not a social-justice seminar on campus,” Cotton told Fox News.

A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of the paper, confirmed the departure in a memo to staff members.

“Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we’ve experienced in recent years,” Sulzberger wrote. “James and I agreed that it would take a new team to lead the department through a period of considerable change.”

Cotton, meanwhile, said that the paper misrepresented his arguments.

“This is false and offensive. I called for using military force as a backup—only if police are overwhelmed—to stop riots, not to be used against protesters,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter, condemning the NY Times and praising Cotton for writing the article.

Katie Kingsbury, a Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial writing, will now oversee the opinion pages until the November elections are over, according to the NY Times.