April 8, 2020/Press

ICYMI: “Never Take Public Health Advice from Thom Tillis”

The current pandemic “is giving new life” to Senator Tillis’ questionable beliefs about public health laws after a new “spot-on” ad campaign from North Carolina Democrats highlights dangerous comments he made in 2015 arguing that restaurants shouldn’t have to require their employees to wash their hands after using the restroom.

In addition to the new ad — already the most watched video on NCDP’s Twitter account — Democrats also put a spotlight on Tillis’ “record on public health, including a 2017 vote in favor of a bill that would’ve slashed the Centers for Disease Control’s budget by 12 percent.

Aside from being “haunted by” his past comments, Tillis is also out of touch with North Carolina voters. Recent polling shows that Tillis’ beliefs are toxic — 76% of voters, including 77% of independents and 66% of Republicans, said Tillis’ comments give them “very serious” concerns about him.

Yet even after doubling down on his beliefs in 2015, telling AP that we should “let those who are regulated decide whether or not it makes sense,” Tillis refused to say “whether he still believes what he said.”


ABC11: North Carolina Democrats resurface Sen. Thom Tillis’ 2015 comments against hand-washing requirements as COVID-19 concerns grow
By Joel Brown
April 7, 2020

Key Points:

  • The coronavirus pandemic is giving new life to some old comments from North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis.
  • The North Carolina Democratic Party is spotlighting Tillis’ 2015 call to lift public health regulations requiring restaurant workers to wash their hands after bathroom breaks.
  • NCDP used the exchange as a part of a new digital campaign ad pushed out this week.
  • But, with Tillis running for re-election in November in the midst of a global health crisis — Democrats are using the comments to blast his record on public health — including a 2017 vote in favor of a bill that would’ve slashed the Centers for Disease Control’s budget by 12 percent.
  • NCDP said Tillis should tell voters whether he still believes what he said.


IndyWeek: NC Dems Would Like You to Remember That Time Thom Tillis Said Restaurant Workers Didn’t Need to Wash Their Hands
By Sara Pequeño
April 7, 2020

Key Points:

  • If we called out Thom Tillis on every embarrassing thing he said or did, we’d have to hire another writer.
  • But given the current pandemic, now feels like the perfect time to relive one of Thommy’s greatest hits.
  • In 2015, you might recall, Tillis took a heroic stand for keeping the government out of the relationship between fecal matter and your food, proclaiming that he had “no problem” with restaurant employees not washing their hands.
  • For the record, Tillis said he was cool with it if the restaurant had a sign posted declaring that employees weren’t required to wash their hands, which seems inane when his actual problem was that the state required restaurants to post signs saying that employees needed to wash their hands.
  • We apparently aren’t the only ones remembering this fondly. The North Carolina Democratic Party just launched an ad using this video, which seems pretty spot-on in the midst of a pandemic that can be slowed if people wash their hands.
  • If you’re reading this and you’re either a) in the mood to spite Thom Tillis, or b) Thom Tillis, here’s how to wash your hands properly.

Mediaite: New Ad: Dems Rip Republican Senator for Once Saying Restaurants Shouldn’t Be Forced to Make Employees Wash Hands
By Tommy Christopher
April 7, 2020

Key Points

  • North Carolina Democrats have dug up some timely oppo on GOP Senator Thom Tillis, and are running a coronavirus-themed ad ripping him for once having said that restaurant employees should not be forced to wash their hands.
  • The North Carolina Democratic Party released an ad Tuesday taking Tillis to task for comments he made in 2015 — in which he opposed mandatory hand-washing by restaurant employees — and tweeted “Public health laws keep us safe. We need our leaders in Washington to do the same.”
  • At the time, the clip caught the attention of then-Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who roasted Tillis for the comments, and cannily pointed out that what Tillis had advocated was not eliminating regulation, but actually creating a new one to modify the existing one.
  • “That’s not getting rid of regulation, that just makes you an inconsistent ideologue with a light fecal dusting in your latte,” Stewart remarked.
  • North Carolina Democrats are hoping that “funny” example goes over even more poorly in coronavirus pandemic times, as former state legislator and Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham tries to make Tillis’ first term his last. What little polling there is on the race isn’t great news for Tillis, as he leads Cunningham by two in one poll, and trails by five in another.


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