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RALEIGH, NC – Today marks the one-year anniversary of Thom Tillis’ infamous Washington Post op-ed in which he announced his opposition to the President’s national emergency declaration, only to turn around weeks later and vote for it in what the Fayetteville Observer called an “Olympic Gold Flip-Flop.”
As an Army veteran, Cal Cunningham understands what it means for our national security when military bases don’t have the resources they need to keep us safe. Cal said of Tillis’ epic flip-flop: “Instead of representing those interests, Sen. Tillis has embarrassed us on a national stage through his repeated capitulation to political pressure.”
One year later, voters are reminded once again that instead of standing up for North Carolinians, Tillis will cave to partisan pressures in Washington every time. As the Charlotte Observer wrote, “when you buy political favor in exchange for your principles, the bill is always more than you thought it would be.” This time, it could cost him the election.
The now infamous op-ed and the votes that followed set off a year of bad headlines and distrust among military families. Here is a timeline:
February 25, 2019
On this day, Senator Thom Tillis took a strong, principled stand against President Trump’s national emergency declaration in a big way — via a Washington Post op-ed — saying:
“As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress. As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms. These are the reasons I would vote in favor of the resolution disapproving of the president’s national-emergency declaration, if and when it comes before the Senate.”
March 14, 2019
Tillis took to the Senate floor to announce that after discussions with his allies in Washington — NOT North Carolinians — he reversed course on his VERY public position, saying he’d back the President after all, a decision “clearly shaded” by his re-election bid.
March 15, 2019
The Fayetteville Observer editorial board writes “principle crumbled,” and Tillis’ change of heart: “gave us a flip-flop for the ages after boldly campaigning for a measure that would block President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, and then at the last moment falling in line with the rest of the Senate Republican Trump servants.”
September 4, 2019
The News & Observer reported: “North Carolina’s military bases will lose about $80 million in planned military construction, according to a list released by the Pentagon on Wednesday of projects across the United States losing funding to build President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico.”
September 9. 2020
Cal Cunningham released a digital ad targeting Tillis for his failure to stand up for military families.
September 21, 2019
They Fayetteville Observer wrote that Tillis “did not stand up to Trump for state’s military funding,” adding that his promise to “backfill” the raided money did “not explain his passivity on Trump’s money grab for the unpopular wall.”
September 25, 2019
Despite having learned the above — that the President’s sham national emergency declaration would redirect $80 million from North Carolina military installations to pay for the border wall — Thom Tillis cast his SECOND vote in favor of the national emergency declaration.
September 27, 2019
While Tillis visited Fort Bragg, Tamara Terry, whose husband is stationed at Fort Bragg asked Tillis: “How can we trust you to fix it if you’re taking money from us actively for a border wall?”
October 17, 2019
Tillis cast his THIRD vote in favor of the national emergency declaration, voting again to allow $80 million to be taken from North Carolina military installations.
December 4, 2019
Charlotte Observer editorial board writes scathing editorial about distrust in Senator Tillis, saying Tillis “values job over country.”
The Observer even questioned which Tillis is real — “the Thom Tillis who pretends to be a moderate, or the Thom Tillis who pretends to be a conservative,” — saying Tillis is “uncommonly bad at” the dance between appealing to his party’s base and appealing to independent voters.
December 12, 2019
Roll Call reported that the year-end spending bill would “not backfill $3.6 billion in military construction funds that the White House diverted earlier this year to the border wall” despite Tillis’ promise the money would be backfilled.
December 21, 2019
Days later, local press reported on Tillis’ failure to backfill the money. Cal Cunningham told the Observer: “When Thom Tillis voted three times to back the White House’s sham national emergency, including twice after he knew it would take $80 million from North Carolina military families, he sold off any ounce of independence he had left. Then, he promised those families the money would come, but we know now it won’t.”
December 31, 2019
Tillis made ANOTHER “best of” list, as number 23 on the Washington Post’s quotes that defined American politics in 2019, for what other than claiming it’s never tough to vote when “standing on principle,” before…well, abandoning those principles.
January 13, 2020
Thom Tillis didn’t say anything about the new threat of another $7.2 billion cash grab from the Pentagon for border wall construction.
February 13, 2020
In February, he stayed silent about another $3.8 billion money grab that would also divert funding from the National Guard, which has more than 10,000 North Carolina members.