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The Observer pointed out that Tillis’ sycophantic invitation was embarrassing for both its timing and its content. “At a moment…when we’d like our members of Congress to position themselves as a thoughtful check on any president’s action” the Observer noted, “Tillis was acting more like a party planner.”
After pointing out that Tillis’ tendency to blindly follow the President is “disappointing” but not “unexpected,” the Observer presented the “clear choice” before North Carolina voters this November:
“Do voters want a U.S. senator who understands that it is sometimes his or her uncomfortable duty to question a president, especially one who so regularly threatens constitutional boundaries and historical norms? Or do we want a senator so consumed with currying favor from Donald Trump that he embarrasses himself and the state he represents?”
Read the full editorial below.
Charlotte Observer: Thom Tillis’ Birthday Blunder Embarrasses NC
By The Editorial Board — January 06, 2020
There’s nothing wrong with sending someone a happy birthday wish, public or private. So why did Thom Tillis’ acknowledgment of Eric Trump’s 36th birthday Saturday elicit some social media groaning?
It could be that the senator from North Carolina didn’t merely wish the president’s son a happy birthday. Tillis invited Americans to “add your name” to a birthday card for Trump that “we’re putting together,” he said in a tweet.
That birthday card, which declared the president’s son an “American Patriot” and said “We’re so thankful for Eric Trump’s work in fighting for America,” was an unusually public and intimate gesture for a U.S. Senator to make for a member of the president’s family.
It could be the timing of the gesture that prompted some eye-rolling. At a moment when the country is grappling with the unsettling U.S. assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani — a time when we’d like our members of Congress to position themselves as a thoughtful check on any president’s action — Tillis was acting more like a party planner.
To be fair, few people have an expectation that Tillis would raise questions about the president’s killing of a foreign official and the ramifications it might have on U.S. interests and foreign policy.
Republicans have decided such examination is a fool’s errand, that any questioning of Donald Trump will bring backlash from his base and maybe a nasty tweet from the president himself. Tillis, who’s running for re-election in 2020, has been especially hesitant to raise an eyebrow at Trump.
The senator long ago laid his political future at the feet of the president, and he’s dutifully made the rounds on television of late to declare the Trump’s impeachment hearings a sham.
So while it’s disappointing, it’s not unexpected that Tillis, like other Republicans, is declining to push for evidence to back up Trump’s assertion that Suleimani posed an imminent threat to U.S. interests. It’s not surprising that Tillis is publicly untroubled by reports that Pentagon officials were stunned Trump took the most extreme option of assassination instead of more measured, prudent approaches to tension with Iran. It’s hardly unforeseen that Tillis has declined to utter a peep of protest over Trump’s vocal willingness to commit war crimes and attack Iranian cultural sites.
But soliciting Americans to sign a birthday card for Donald Trump’s son? It showed a troubling lack of distance between a U.S. senator and a president, one that surely had some of Tillis’ fellow Republicans wincing, too. It’s also a sign to North Carolinians that as we turn the calendar to 2020, we have a clear choice ahead.
Do voters want a U.S. senator who understands that it is sometimes his or her uncomfortable duty to question a president, especially one who so regularly threatens constitutional boundaries and historical norms? Or do we want a senator so consumed with currying favor from Donald Trump that he embarrasses himself and the state he represents?