Tom Cotton: an ambitious Republican in the era of Trump — and in the crossfire of health care

On most issues, the lanky Cotton, a rising star in the party, has emerged as one of President Trump’s staunchest supporters, aligning in both tone and substance with the enthusiastic conservative base that helped elect the president. However, on health care, he has not marched in lockstep with the president

.. “There’s kind of a joke among liberals here that he was created in a lab, as we always say, because he’s this conservative everyman,”

.. At the other end of the spectrum are conservative senators such as Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who want to see a more forceful repeal than many of his GOP colleagues. “I’m still open-minded. I do want to vote for a repeal bill,” said Paul

.. Cotton, an Army veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who has built a reputation around his hawkish national security views, also backed Trump’s foreign policy approach. He said the president made the “right call” with his decision to strike a Syrian air base last this month.

.. “Lock him up!” some chanted as Cotton defended the president’s foreign policy and ticked through the list of world leaders Trump has met with. They were putting a twist on “Lock her up!” — a popular anti-Hillary Clinton chant at Trump campaign rallies. Others tried to drown them out with “U.S.A.!”

.. “We’d love to get, you know, 52 votes on whatever it is that ultimately emerges from the Senate,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the third-ranking Republican senator. “But we know we have to get 50 plus Vice President Pence.”