Tom Cotton defends Ivanka Trump over canceled commencement speech: 'Woke' critics 'ruined it for everyone'

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad Mellman: Roberts rescues the right? Hillicon Valley: Pompeo floats TikTok ban | Civil rights groups slam Facebook after call | Election security funding included in proposal MORE (R-Ark.) on Friday came to the defense of White House adviser Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpMelania Trump confidant plans tell-all book Trump says he's 'all for masks' despite reluctance to wear one Trump signs order directing federal government to focus on skills when hiring MORE after the president’s eldest daughter was dropped as a speaker at WSU Tech’s commencement ceremony, saying the “woke mob struck.”

Cotton on Twitter wrote that it was “absurd” for Trump’s speech to be canceled amid criticism over the president’s response to protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“@IvankaTrump, who leads economic development initiatives, was giving a non-partisan graduation speech at a community college,” Cotton wrote, saying it would have been a “great opportunity” for graduates to hear from her.

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The senator shared an opinion piece from the Washington Examiner on the cancellations titled “Ivanka Trump's commencement speech was canceled because social justice is a disease.”

Cotton continued by saying that if “snowflakes” were offended by hearing from Trump, then they should have skipped the commencement speech.

“Instead, they ruined it for everyone,” the Republican senator wrote. “The proper approach to the woke mob is never to give in⁠—it's to tell them to grow up.”

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Wichita State University and WSU Tech canceled Ivanka Trump’s commencement speech on Thursday. A joint statement said WSU Tech's plans were “refocused more centrally on students” and that nursing graduate Rebecca Zinabu will now be the only the speaker. 

The cancellation came after public outcry from faculty, students and alumni, according to The Wichita Eagle.

“We owe it to our students to stand up for the right thing when and where we can,” Jennifer Ray, associate professor of photo media at Wichita State University, wrote to school administrators. “To our students of color, and to me, inviting Ivanka Trump to speak right now sends the message that WSU Tech does not take diversity seriously.”

Trump on Friday released a recording of the speech she had intended to give while railing against “cancel culture” on Twitter.

“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia. Listening to one another is important now more than ever!” she tweeted.

“You commence at a moment unlike any other. America and the world are battling a terrible pandemic. Our entire society is engaged in a national endeavor to defeat the virus, protect our fellow citizens, and open up America again to rebuild our economy and take care of the safety and well-being of our people,” she said in the speech.

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“Right now I know the economic uncertainty is real, and it’s hard on many of you and your families. Your own blueprint for your future is likely changing due to the pandemic, but I am confident that even if your path is different form the one you imagined, ultimately it can be better than we could ever have planned.”

Cotton's defense of Trump came a day after The New York Times said that a controversial op-ed written by the GOP senator "did not meet our standards." The opinion piece, which was titled "Send In the Troops," called for "an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers."

Cotton had previously defended the newspaper for publishing the op-ed, saying it had stood up "to the woke progressive mob in their own newsroom." He reshared the opinion piece in a tweet on Friday.