September 30, 2019/Press

“How Can We Trust You?” Military Families Blast Tillis after Voting Again to Enable $80 Million Raid

Raleigh – Military families at Fort Bragg lashed out at Senator Tillis and questioned “how committed he was to their plight” last week after he voted yet again to enable the administration’s $80 million raid on North Carolina’s military bases. “How can we trust you to fix it if you’re taking money from us actively for a border wall?,” one military spouse asked Senator Tillis.

“No state got hit harder than North Carolina” – yet Senator Tillis is still trying to “hug Trump as close as possible” to survive his expensive, divisive Republican primary. Even as editorials boards continue to slam him for his “$80 million punch to the gut” and criticize him after he “meekly acquiesced in the money grab,” and as Republican voters boo him at Trump rallies and criticize him as “wishy-washy,” Senator Tillis continues to choose allegiance to the president over what’s right for North Carolina families.

News & Observer: Tillis talks about impeachment, military cuts in visit to Fort Bragg
By Will Doran
September 30, 2019

Key Points:

  • Two days after voting to back an emergency declaration allowing millions of dollars in cuts to North Carolina military bases to help President Donald Trump pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, N.C. Sen. Thom Tillis met with troops and their families at Fort Bragg.
  • Although Tillis was at Bragg primarily to hear complaints about poor conditions in on-base housing — which won’t be affected by any potential cuts — some in the audience cited those cuts to question his broader commitment to the military.
  • Tillis, a Republican in his first term as a U.S. senator, will seek re-election to a second six-year term in 2020. He’s facing a challenger on the right who says he’s not sufficiently pro-Trump, and challengers on the left who say he’s too pro-Trump. Both sides base their arguments in part on his flip-flop over Trump’s plans to pay for the wall with military funds; Tillis first said he would oppose Trump declaring a national emergency but later voted for it.
  • Some in the audience, however, questioned how committed he was to their plight.
  • “How can we trust you to fix it if you’re taking money from us actively for a border wall?” asked Tamara Terry, whose husband is stationed at Fort Bragg. Terry is also vice president of a nonprofit focused on military housing, Operation Mission Ready.
  • The nationwide military cuts announced to pay for the wall are about $3.6 billion. Of that, $47 million would be cut from active projects in North Carolina — not counting money for school construction at Fort Bragg that Tillis said had already been canceled.
  • As for the cuts for the wall, Tillis originally said he considered Trump’s plan an example of the executive branch taking too much power. He wrote a widely shared op-ed for the Washington Post saying he opposed an increase in the power of the presidency under Barack Obama and would under Trump, too.
  • “There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach — that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party,” Tillis wrote.
  • However, under pressure from conservative activists, Tillis flip-flopped and eventually supported Trump’s plan, in votes earlier this year and again this week.

Spectrum News: Tillis Again Votes ‘No’ On Blocking Trump’s Border Wall Emergency Declaration
By Kevin Frey
September 27, 2019

Key Points:

  • Congress has for the second time voted to block the president’s national emergency declaration to fund the border wall.
  • During the first vote in March, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, was thrust into the national spotlight after writing an op-ed in The Washington Post raising concerns about executive overreach.
  • Tillis ultimately ended up siding with the president, voting against a resolution to overturn the emergency order. Some labeled him a “flip-flopper” as a result.
  • This week, Tillis again voted with the administration, as did most Republicans in the North Carolina delegation. In the House, two North Carolina Republicans did not vote on the resolution.
  • Unlike in March, this time, lawmakers had a sense of the direct impact the emergency declaration could have on their home states. The Pentagon recently announced a plan to divert $3.6 billion in funding from military projects across the globe to the president’s border barriers.
  • In the Tar Heel State, that includes moving $47 million from active military projects to the wall. On that list: $15.3 million for an ambulatory care center at Camp Lejeune.
  • Across the aisle, the emergency order and its impact on military projects has become a lightning rod for Tillis’s Democratic rivals.
  • Although some Senate Republicans sided with the Democrats this week in voting to overturn the president’s declaration, the Senate did not have a veto-proof majority.