January 25, 2019/Press

ICYMI: Charlotte Observer: Thom Tillis the moderate? Be skeptical

Raleigh – Senator Thom Tillis is desperately trying to recast himself ahead of a difficult 2020 reelection campaign. But when push comes to shove, he continues to chose fealty to President Trump over his constituents. Just yesterday, he votedagainst a clean bill to reopen the government that was similar to one he voted for just a month ago, while food banks, school children, hurricane victims, and workers suffer. As his hometown paper suggests, “Tillis should own who he is, and North Carolinians should recognize what he isn’t.”

Charlotte Observer: Thom Tillis the moderate? Be skeptical
By the Editorial Board
January 23, 2019

Say hello to Thom Tillis, the centrist. Remember him? He was the candidate who ran for one of North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seats in 2014. He vowed then to be a moderate voice in polarized Washington. That sounded good to N.C. voters, who backed him over Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.

That Tillis is back — at least in words.


But when faced with an opportunity to put action behind his words, Tillis is instead getting in line with Republican senators supporting Donald Trump’s “compromise” on immigration and the government shutdown. That compromise, which already has been rejected by Democrats, would only temporarily restore DACA protections the president took away in exchange for $5.7 billion in wall money. It’s an unproductive, political maneuver — just the kind Tillis seemed to lament in his Hill op-ed.

This is the problem with Tillis’s move to the center. He boasts of bipartisanship and files bills with Democrats on smaller-ticket issues, but when the big moments arrive, Tillis doesn’t. At least not as a centrist.

So it is with immigration this week. So it was with a bill last year on protecting Robert Mueller’s investigation — a measure that Tillis introduced but has declined to forcefully pursue. Tillis also has been anything but centrist on significant policies Americans support, such as basic gun control measures and protecting Obamacare. He voted against his party only 1.8 percent of the time last Congress, ranking him 95th among all senators, according to ProPublica.

Most importantly, when his country needed Republican senators to stand up to the president’s reckless statements and policies the past two years, Tillis has too often been quiet. In fact, he said this two weeks ago to the Huffington Post: “I’m going to defer to the president on the best strategy, and I would never vote to override a veto on something that the president didn’t think was the best approach.”


Tillis should own who he is, and North Carolinians should recognize what he isn’t.

Read the full editorial online here.