Tom Cotton claims Twitter tried to lock him out of his account

Sen. Tom Cotton alleged that Twitter almost locked him out of his account for using an old-timey phrase that the tech company’s staff thought was a call for violence. 

Cotton detailed the odd saga in an op-ed Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s website.  

On the morning of June 1, after Black Lives Matter protests had turned into a looting and destruction-spree in a number of American cities, Cotton suggested that active-duty troops be called in, adding, ‘No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters and looters.’ 

Sen. Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed posted on the Fox News Channel website that detailed how Twitter tried to freeze him out of his account over a tweet they thought was a call to violence

THE TWEET IN QUESTION: Sen. Tom Cotton used the old-timey phrase, 'No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters and looters,' as he called for active-duty troops to be utilized when the early George Floyd protests inspired looting and destruction of property

THE TWEET IN QUESTION: Sen. Tom Cotton used the old-timey phrase, ‘No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters and looters,’ as he called for active-duty troops to be utilized when the early George Floyd protests inspired looting and destruction of property

‘This was apparently too much for the professional umbrage-takers on Twitter. In high dudgeon, they exclaimed that “no quarter” once meant that a military force would take no prisoners, but instead shoot them,’ the Arkansas Republican wrote.

As he explained on, when he said ‘no quarter,’ he meant the modern usage of the term. 

‘Never mind that the phrase today is a common metaphor for a tough or merely unkind approach to a situation,’ Cotton said. 

Several hours later, Cotton said a ‘low-level employee in Twitter’s Washington office’ contacted some of his Congressional aides and told them the tweet violated the company’s policies.  

‘She also issued an ultimatum: delete the tweet or Twitter would permanently lock my account. She gave me only 30 minutes to comply,’ Cotton recalled.  

Cotton then described the back-and-forth that occurred, which included an offer from the senator’s office to post a new tweet clarifying the lawmaker’s intended meaning of the phrase. 

The Twitter employee, Cotton said, refused the offer and said the original most be deleted because ‘some snowflakes had retweeted it.’ 

The senator also alleged that the Twitter employee mistated the company’s policy on which tweets can be flagged – like President Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting that were fact-checked by the company. 

‘She contended that Twitter only did so for heads of state, not elected legislators, though its policy plainly states otherwise,’ Cotton wrote. ‘The only option, she reiterated, was deleting the tweet or losing my account.’   

Cotton said upon providing dictionary definitions of ‘no quarter’ to the staffer, she said she would ‘take that back to our teams.’ 

‘It was clear, I should add, that this low-level employee was acting as a front for more senior officials at Twitter, whom one might expect would contact directly a sitting senator to discuss such a serious matter,’ the senator wrote. ‘It was equally clear that she avoided putting as much in writing as possible.’ 

‘Accountability is not Twitter’s long suit, either,’ Cotton added. 

Cotton said he had called Twitter’s bluff, waited out the 30 minutes, and nothing happened. 

‘Finally, almost two hours after the initial contact, the employee called to say Twitter would take “no action” against my account, but she was not authorized to say more,’ Cotton said.      

A spokesperson for Twitter has yet to respond to’s request for comment on whether the senator’s description of the incident was accurate. 

Cotton has been in the limelight for a controversial op-ed he penned in The New York Times that called for military action to stop rioting, looting and vandalism, which had sprung out from the early protests over the death of George Floyd. 

The Times later said the opinion piece, which came out on June 3, ‘fell short of our standards and should not have been published.’ 

The newspaper’s editors questioned some of the statements Cotton used in the piece – such as blaming ‘cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa’ for the looting – that were treated as fact. 

‘In fact, those allegations have not been substantiated and have been widely questioned,’ an editors’ note read. 

Cotton blasted The Times’ move in the opening paragraphs of his op-ed and then made a comparison to Twitter.  

‘The New York Times, after publishing my op-ed about the Insurrection Act, capitulated to a woke mob of its employees,’ he wrote.  ‘But it’s not just the Times. I reveal here for the first time that the Twitter thought police also targeted me for expressing an opinion shared at that time by a majority of Americans.’

Echoing the complaints of droves of conservatives, Cotton suggested Twitter editing him came with political motives. 

‘Though Twitter purports to police only threats of violence, the company won’t even cooperate with law enforcement investigating death threats against me and other legislators,’ Cotton said. 

He also alleged that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey unfollowed The New York Times’ Twitter account after the paper’s opinion section published Cotton’s op-ed.   

A Twitter spokesperson didn’t respond to’s query about that either. 

‘These social-media companies have improved the lives of Americans in many ways. But they should not be surprised public opinion is turning against them when they act as censors and moral scolds to millions of Americans,’ Cotton said.