Two-and-a-half weeks ago, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis published an op-ed in The Washington Post vowing to vote in favor of a Democrat-drafted resolution to nullify President Donald Trump’s national emergency. In a stunning last-minute reversal Thursday, he reneged on that vow.
While his vote wasn’t enough to prevent the resolution from passing the Senate (with the help of 12 Republicans) that’s heading to the president’s desk for an expected “veto,” it did at least demonstrate to his constituents in North Carolina that he’s not willing to stab Trump in the back and side with his enemies.
Why though the abrupt about-face? In a four-minute speech on the Senate floor, the North Carolina senator explained why he’d initially written the op-ed and what had changed since.
“A few weeks ago I was talking with my staff in advance of the president issuing the emergency order, and I told them that I wanted to put together an op-ed to really express two things: one, my concern with the manner in which funds were being appropriated, but also that there is a real crisis that we have to address. In fact I’m very sympathetic to what the president did, and the only question is how he went about doing it,” he said.
His primary concern was that the mechanism Trump had employed to obtain funding to build a southern U.S. border wall could be exploited by a future Democrat president to pursue far-left policies, including potentially gun confiscation or even the radical “Green New Deal.”
But thanks to fruitful discussions between him, his colleagues and the White House, these concerns were allayed. How so? The White House has shown interest in passing a piece of legislation drafted by Utah Sen. Mike Lee that would limit future national emergencies to just 30 days. For the emergency to continue beyond 30 days, the sitting president would need to obtain congressional authorization.
“The White House has been very gracious — and I should say very patient given my initial position — and working with us, and as late as today having the president make a statement that he’s willing to work with us. I suspect that we’ll hear more from the president,” Tillis said.
— CafeNetAmerica (@cafenetamerica) March 13, 2019
So has Senate Majority Mitch McConnell.
“We’re looking at some ways to revisit the law,” McConnell said of the National Emergencies Act during his weekly press conference Wednesday. “There’s a lot of discomfort with the law. … Was it too broad back in the ’70s when it was passed? So yeah, we’re discussing altering that.”
According to Tillis, the Senate majority leader has stuck to his words.
“I don’t know if it’s been done before, but leader McConnell took to the floor this morning and said that he encourages this discussion through the regular order and to work on a bipartisan basis to move a measure forward through the Homeland Security Committee and to this floor for a vote. I for one I’m going to work on that and hopefully gain consensus on a bipartisan basis,” he explained.
But in the meantime, it’s clear to Tillis that the crisis on the border needs to be dealt with pronto.
Last month nearly 75,000 illegals showed up at legal ports of entry to apply for asylum or were apprehended by immigration officials after illegally crossing into the U.S. It’s unclear how many additional more may have seeped across the border undetected like those seen in the surveillance footage below:
Captured by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents near the southern U.S. border in San Diego, the footage shows a human smuggler using two children to distract the attention of immigration officials and thus allow a gang of 10 illegal aliens to quickly sidle across the border undetected.
Tillis concluded his speech Thursday by announcing his vote against the Democrats’ resolution.
“[O]ver the course of the next few months I look forward to working with the administration to talk about boundaries that we’re very close to getting agreement on to making changes to the National Emergencies Act that will make sense,” he said.
“That this president is prepared to transfer power back to the article 1 branch by his statements either publicly or through his administration is extraordinary. That we have a leader with the Republican down the street willing to move this through the regular order is extraordinary, and for those reasons I will be voting against the resolution of disapproval, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.”
Though his explanation for the sudden about-face made perfect sense, Democrats and their virulently left-wing media allies cried foul, accusing him of having caved to pressure.
— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) March 14, 2019
Tillis feb 25: “As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress.”
Tillis today: nevermind! https://t.co/stPUmpDLrU
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 14, 2019
Thom Tillis and Cory Gardner were very vulnerable in a general election before this vote; after this vote, they are now incredibly vulnerable. So much for being constitutional conservatives.
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) March 14, 2019
Tillis vote doesn’t matter but what a useless POS
some votes matter, this is one of them
— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) March 14, 2019
Laughably, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who had declared his opposition to Trump’s declaration in an op-ed for The Post, flip-flopped and voted with Trump, a singular moment of breathtaking cowardice. https://t.co/nlY9Qcpq63
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) March 14, 2019
I suspect that Thom Tillis is going to have a tough time placing his next op-ed…
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) March 14, 2019
Such incredible journalisming …
As for the North Carolina senator’s actual constituents, they were thrilled:
@ThomTillis I let you know when I think you are not right so it is only fair I should say thank you for voting with the President on the Wall. Safety first
— Pro-Life #MAGA (@Trump_Videos) March 15, 2019
@ThomTillis Thank you for standing with President Trump on protecting Americans with the Wall. I will remember at the next election in a favorable way.
— Project Weeping Angel (@PWeepingAngel) March 15, 2019
Thank you @SenThomTillis @ThomTillis for your honorable decision to stand with the American ppl and doing their bidding and NOT the bidding of special interest fat cats and the dirty leftist #FakeNewsCNN reporters et al.#DirtyDozen
— ❌2ttee❌ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@222t) March 15, 2019
Thank you to all true Republicans that stood up for the National emergency Act which clearly over-rides the Constitution!! The Congress gave their power away when it passed in 1976!! @tedcruz is right on! Thank god @ThomTillis came back to Trump in the end!! #MaGa
— DeplorableRINOhunter (@ApparentlyRINO) March 15, 2019
THANK YOU @ThomTillis for standing with the American People who want to keep American great! and supporting our President’s declaration to secure our border. NC is proud of you for doing the right thing.
— tkn (@Tkn6911) March 15, 2019
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