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Tillis’ Refusal To Condemn President’s Gassing Of Peaceful Protestors Is His Latest Demonstration Of Weakness In A Long Record Of Political Subservience

After the president tear gassed peaceful protestors to clear the way for a photo-op in front of a church Monday evening, some GOP Senators defended his actions or rebuked them.

Tillis “sidestepped the question.” 

Cal Cunningham responded, calling out the president’s behavior.

Tillis’ actions this week are all too familiar for North Carolinians who have taken note of his patterned behavior caving to party leaders, instead of standing up to them. 

This is the senator that refused to say injecting bleach was a bad idea. 

This is the senator who claims to never forget “those who need the most help”, but is an architect of one of the stingiest state unemployment programs in the countryand blocked Medicaid expansion.  

This is the senator that wrote a national op-ed saying he would vote against the president’s national emergency declaration, but instead voted three times to allow an $80 million raid on North Carolina military installations and projects. 

That’s why when the News & Observer and Charlotte Observer Editorial Board asks: “Can Tillis rise to the moment this time? Can he look beyond his poll numbers to the country’s best interests?” 

North Carolinians already know the answer.

Charlotte Observer: The president just tear-gassed peaceful Americans. Where are you, Thom Tillis?

Editorial Board – June 2, 2020

  • That’s right. Donald Trump teargassed peaceful Americans. So he could use a church as a stage and a Bible as a prop.
  • It was terrifying. It was shameful. If it leaves you shaking your head and asking where the bottom is with Donald Trump, we understand. If it leaves you speechless, however, then maybe your name is Thom Tillis.
  • Tillis, of course, is North Carolina’s junior U.S. senator, and he’s locked in a very tight race for reelection. He’s been a little more visible lately with a new ad campaign that portrays him as a humble North Carolinian, a regular guy who cares about regular guy issues, like living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Regular folks might have some nits to pick there, in that if you lose your paycheck in North Carolina, you can thank Tillis for being an architect of one of the stingiest state unemployment programs in the country. The bigger campaign issue for Tillis, however, is that he long ago wanted to pretend he is a moderate who’s troubled by some of the president’s erratic words and deeds, but he doesn’t want to lose the president and his supporters. That led to some embarrassing episodes, such as when he expressed “grave concerns” in a Februrary 2019 op-ed about Trump’s national emergency declaration to fund a wall on the southern border, then voted to support it less than a month later.
  • Other Republicans, including some in tight races, find themselves in a similar bind with Trump. So why are we singling out Sen. Tillis? Because the president is inching down a dangerous path. He not only unleashed federal officers against peaceful Americans on Monday; he has inflamed the country with combative tweets and tough guy flexing about George Floyd protests, and he has talked about sending federal troops to states where governors don’t “dominate” protesters. We don’t believe states and their governors should let protesters lawlessly break curfews and damage property, but troops on U.S. streets would be a grave mistake that would heighten the unrest.
  • That’s where Tillis comes in. What America needs at this moment are leaders who want to find a path toward healing, not leaders who appear to itch for conflict. We need members of Congress who recognize and voice that an overwhelming majority of protesters don’t support violence and looting, and that many protesters who do appear to have ulterior political motives.