Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, was harshly criticized after he claimed to have no recollection of supply chain shortages during former President Donald Trump's time in office.
Cotton made the claim during an appearance on Fox News personality Laura Ingraham's show, suggesting supply chain shortages only happened after the balance of power shifted to the Democrats.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
“We’ve had this pandemic for two years, Laura. I don’t remember inflation or supply chain shortages or labor shortages that we’ve seen this year in the first year of the pandemic."
"What changed? Joe Biden and the Democrats took power in January.”
Cotton's claim is false.
There were several weeks at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 when millions of people couldn't find a single roll of toilet paper anywhere, the result at least in part of panic buying as state and local governments issued stay-at-home orders.
Other items—such as hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, masks, cleaning supplies—were also in short supply, flying off the shelves almost as soon as they were stocked.
The Washington Post even published an article in April 2020 that attempted to trace the origins of the toilet paper shortage in particular, observing that "toilet paper—or rather, the lack of it—turns out to reveal a great deal about who we are and how we behave in a crisis."
Republicans meanwhile have attempted to place the blame for shortages on President Joe Biden and his administration amid a global supply-chain crisis, the result of COVID-19 disruptions paired with a boom in demand.
Cotton's remarks did not go over well with the online community, some of whom posted pictures to remind the Senator there had indeed been supply chain shortages before Democrats regained control of two branches of government—legislative and executive.
Cotton's remarks bring to mind recent remarks from Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan, who received heavy criticism in October after he claimed groceries "weren't expensive during the Trump administration."
Jordan's claim came as many continue to feel the economic fallout from the pandemic and as the impacts of inflation continue to be felt at the grocery store.
However, rising grocery prices are not necessarily new and were, in fact observed during former President Trump's time in office.
Trump generated significant controversy in 2018 after he initiated a trade war, raising taxes on aluminum and steel. Ultimately, the agriculture industry and farmers in particular ended up paying the price when countries leveled retaliatory tariffs.
The ripple effects of these tariffs have been felt across numerous sections of the food industry, including beef, beer, cheese, pork, soybeans, and even whiskey and bourbon.