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Editorial: Sen. Tillis delivers flip-flop for the ages

March 15, 2019
March 15, 2019 -- Capitol Broadcasting's editorial cartoonist.

CBC Editorial: Friday, March 15, 2019; Editorial #8401 The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

A month ago Sen. Thom Tillis was one of the first Republicans to say he’d oppose President Donald Trump’s border emergency. It violated the Constitution’s separation of powers. He wasn’t going to cede the legislative branch’s constitutional responsibility.

Thursday with his vote to the contrary, he said “never mind.”

Looking at the likelihood of a difficult re-election campaign next year, the last thing his chances of returning to the Senate needed was the added possibility of a potent GOP primary challenger – an open threat Trump promised Republicans who opposed him.

At about the same time Tillis was back-tracking, Republican Rep. Mark Walker, who represents the state’s 6th Congressional District and was rumored as a GOP primary challenge to the incumbent senator, had his office issue a brief statement. “Congressman Walker is humbled to have the support and consideration of conservatives across North Carolina but is not planning to primary Thom Tillis.”

After the vote, N.C. GOP Chairman Robin Hayes offered Tillis more reassurance. “We look forward to supporting President Trump and Senator Tillis as they work to secure our borders and fix the broken National Emergencies Act.”

So, Tillis kicked the Constitution into the back seat and drove into the sunset with the President. It was quite a turn-around for someone who’d taken to The Washington Post’s op-ed columns to declare there was “no intellectual honesty” in supporting Trump when he’d objected to what he considered presidential excesses during Barack Obama’s administration.

“Congress has allowed executive overreach to continue unabated from one administration to the next because both sides are fine with it as long as they agree with the policy goal,” Tillis said in a statement a month ago. “While I agree with President (Donald) Trump’s policy goal, I don’t believe in situational principles.”

What Tillis says he believes and what he does are now revealed to be VERY different things – particularly when a re-election is on the line.

“I’ve met with the vice president and senior White House staff to build consensus on amending the National Emergencies Act to prevent a future left-wing president from misusing their authority,” Tillis said Thursday in his dizzying 180-degree spin.

Nothing Tillis did will stop a future president, no matter the wing, partisan or ideological persuasion.

If the senator goes looking for the definition of “situational principles,” now, he may find his picture beside it in the dictionary.

Not only has he misled and let his constituents down, he’s bailed on his fellow senators – including the 12 Republicans who voted to pass the resolution 59-41 -- though short of the 67 votes needed to override a promised presidential veto.

Tillis’ office churns out a flood of news releases to depict him as “bipartisan.” This vote shows exactly where Thom Tillis stands: rigidly partisan and shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump – the U.S. Constitution and his word to the people of North Carolina be damned.