In a Friday interview for Spectrum News, Army veteran and U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham criticized Senator Thom Tillis’ weakness in response to the White House’s withdrawal of troops from Syria, saying in giving the President the “benefit of the doubt,” Tillis is putting “partisan political interest ahead of the national interest.”
Tillis’ dismissal of the decision put him at odds with national security experts and those of his own party, including Senator Richard Burr. Cal had called on Tillis to join the bipartisan chorus of lawmakers who opposed the decision.
This weekend, the Fayetteville Observer editorial board also criticized Tillis saying: “One notable exception to the chorus of criticism was Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who faces a tough primary fight, has been boasting of Trump’s support in campaign ads and will not be caught criticizing the president in anyway.”
Watch Cal on Spectrum News HERE:
Spectrum News: NC 2020 Senate Candidates Spar Over Syria Withdrawal Decision
By Kevin Frey – October 11, 2019
- The president’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of northern Syria is causing new friction in the North Carolina Senate race.
- Cal Cunningham, a Democratic candidate in next year’s election, criticized comments made by the incumbent, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, accusing him of putting “partisan political interest ahead of the national interest.”
- “We’ve got another example of our senator in Thom Tillis caving into pressure from the White House about a very important issue of national security,” Cunningham said.
- “At this point, I’m giving the president the benefit of the doubt,” Tillis said. “We’ll go back next week – I’m sure we’ll have a classified briefing, and then I’ll have better access to the facts that he may have used to make that decision.”
- Tillis is embracing the president as part of his re-election campaign. The president featured prominently in his first ad.
- Tillis’s “benefit of the doubt” comment stands in contrast to what many in Congress are saying about Syria. The troop withdrawal has faced widespread criticism from both sides of the aisle, including from some of the president’s closest allies like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.
- Cunningham, an army veteran, described the U.S. as walking away from an ally on the battlefield. He said the withdrawal threatens national security.
- “Our men and women in uniform are prepared and trained everyday to make sure that threats don’t come here. And if we let ISIS up off the mat, we’re at greater risk,” he said.
Watch the full clip here.