GOP freshmen senators tour Guantánamo Bay

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protesters Lawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip MORE (R-Ark.) will tour the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Friday, according to a report from his home state.


"He just feels like it's an important counterterrorism tool and wants to see it himself firsthand," spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Cotton is being joined by four other freshmen senators, Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Cotton has been a loud opponent of any plans to close the detention facility, which holds terrorism suspects. The base's critics say the facility holds suspects without giving them a trial and treats them harshly.

At a hearing in February, Cotton tangled with an administration official while talking about the White House's plan to close the facility.

"We should be sending more terrorists there. As far as I’m concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell. But as long as they can’t do that, they can rot in Guantánamo Bay,” he said.

The clip went viral, and Cotton has since earned a reputation for taking on the Obama administration on national security issues. He led a group of 47 Republican Senators this week in writing an "open letter" to Iranian leaders, telling them that the next administration and Congress might not honor a nuclear deal they reach with Obama.

That letter drew wide criticism from people who said that Cotton and others were trying to undermine the president.