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The impeachment process will result in a final vote tomorrow, but there is nothing final about the implications it will have for Senator Tillis’ already rocky road to reelection.
As the Fayetteville Observer pointed out in a recent editorial: “[T]he immediate question is: Will voters judge the senators harshly as well? November will tell the story.”
But the truth is, North Carolinians have watched as Thom Tillis “transform[ed] from occasional heretic on Trump into lead conductor of the Trump Train.”
They watched as he “proudly rejected [his] role as a crucial check” on the president, declared himself a “definite no” on removing the president before the trial, and “groused repeatedly that the impeachment trial is a waste of time.”
They watched him prove that his only concern is “allowing no daylight between his positions and Trump’s.”
North Carolinians, among a majority of independent voters in key Senate battleground states that wanted to hear from witnesses were left thinking, as this WRAL editorial put it: “How can anyone conclude that there is a ‘lack of evidence’ when you vote to not hear it?”
Voters across the state saw this coming, and Thom Tillis has now become the 2020 case study of GOP subservience. A New York Times article made an example out of Tillis, saying “Republicans who’ve dipped a toe in anti-Trump waters have quickly recoiled.”
The impeachment process has confirmed what North Carolina voters have known all along: Thom Tillis will always put his blind loyalty to the president ahead of what’s best for North Carolinians. It’s clear “Burr and Tillis have violated their oaths.” As the News & Observer editorial noted: “they will acquit the president. They cannot acquit themselves.”
Read what they’re saying about Tillis and impeachment.
Editorial Board – February 4, 2020
Take note of what North Carolina’s senators said last week as they rejected hearing from witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
From Sen. Thom Tillis: “They don’t have the information. It’s a sham impeachment. It’s a waste of people’s time and people in North Carolina are getting tired of it.”“They don’t have a case. … It should be dismissed based on the lack of evidence and lack of process,” Tillis said on former Gov. Pat McCrory’s talk show.
“I keep on going back to, I don’t characterize the President’s conversations any more than I do any other member of the Senate,” Tillis said Friday when the Senate voted.
Tillis seems to forget that Trump stopped witnesses and documents in the House proceedings. How can anyone conclude that there is a “lack of evidence” when you vote to not hear it?
So Burr says the president did it, but it is not impeachable. Tillis says the President did not do it; that there is a lack of evidence and the whole thing is a sham.
We’ve been watching, listening and following the Senate impeachment trial – which really has only been opening and closing statements. REAL trials in the United States include the basics: Calling witnesses who testify and are cross-examined under oath along with the introduction of evidence that seek to prove or exonerate the accused.
Do Burr and Tillis believe the president is free to repeat his Ukraine caper? Is it that Trump can do anything he wants? Do they agree with the absurd logic of Alan Dershowitz: “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”
Fayetteville Observer: Our View: Upcoming Trump ‘acquittal’ will be viewed skeptically
Editorial Board – February 1, 2020
Americans by wide margins said in polls they wanted witnesses in the trial, which was convened to consider two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. We should also remember that during the U.S. House phase of the impeachment, Trump blocked administration officials from participating in any way, even to the point of ignoring congressional subpoenas and refusing to turn over relevant documents.
In the end, Trump will have been “acquitted” in a trial where he blocked key evidence and members of his political party blocked key witnesses. Looming large among those potential witnesses is former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has direct knowledge of the issue at the heart of the impeachment, Trump’s dealings with the Ukraine.
We believe most Americans will not see this as a real acquittal because it was hardly a real trial. They will view what happened not as exoneration but as a president getting his way because his party runs the chamber and ran interference for him.
That means something in a big election year like this one. Republicans wanting to hold onto their seats in both House and Senate races see little upside in opposing a president so popular within his party. It is one reason we have seen our own senator, Thom Tillis, transform from occasional heretic on Trump into lead conductor of the Trump Train. He has groused repeatedly that the impeachment trial is a waste of time and that the Senate needs to get back to its work. (Though he did manage to find time to tweet birthday wishes to Eric Trump, the president’s son, and encouraged others to add their name to Eric’s birthday card.)
We believe history will look unkindly on how the U.S. Senate, nicknamed “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” handled the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.
But the immediate question is: Will voters judge the senators harshly as well? November will tell the story.
News & Observer: The pathetic impeachment pandering of North Carolina’s senators
Editorial Board – January 29, 2020
Before the Senate trial even began, the state’s junior senator, Thom Tillis, said he was a “definite no” on Trump’s removal. He has dismissed the second count of impeachment – Trump’s obstruction of Congress. As for the first count — the president’s abuse of power in leveraging military aid in an attempt to trigger a foreign investigation of a political rival — Tillis said it’s not worth Trump’s removal, no matter what former national security adviser John Bolton says.
That’s no surprise. The one-term senator is up for re-election and is pledging absolute fealty to the president in the hope that Trump’s appeal can carry him to victory. Allowing no daylight between his positions and Trump’s is Tillis’ only calculation, his only concern and his only ambition.
North Carolinians who blindly support the president will welcome their senators doing the same. But senators shouldn’t be merely partisan players. They represent an entire state. Polls indicate that North Carolina voters are split on impeachment, but the many North Carolinians who think the president has done a great disservice to his office and violated his oath are not having their concerns reflected or even acknowledged by their senators.
Tillis and Burr can’t be expected to vote to remove the president. But personal integrity and a respect for all those they represent requires that they be open to the evidence and perhaps even admit discomfort with the president’s actions.
Tillis and Burr, especially, have failed to meet that requirement. They will acquit the president. They cannot acquit themselves.
New York Times: A Primary From the Right? Not in Trump’s G.O.P.
Editorial Board – January 28, 2020
Primaries like Mr. Fitzpatrick’s are scarce in large part because G.O.P. lawmakers know precisely how to avoid them. In the last few years, Republicans who’ve dipped a toe in anti-Trump waters have quickly recoiled, as though a cottonmouth lurked just below the surface. Take Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina: On Feb. 25, 2019, he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post that while he supported the president’s “vision on border security,” he would “vote against” the declaration of a national emergency.
Local Republican leaders excoriated Mr. Tillis for putting himself “in opposition to the president.” They approached Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina’s Sixth District about a primary challenge, and the Club for Growth, a conservative political action group, commissioned a poll on Mr. Walker and other state Republicans’ chances against the senator.
Not three weeks after his op-ed published, Mr. Tillis reversed course and voted for the national emergency. In June, Mr. Walker announced he would not pursue a primary.
“Tillis was a wake-up call for everyone,” said Tyler Sandberg, a Republican strategist. “If you disagreed with something the president did, it was like, ‘Be careful; you saw what happened to Tillis.’”