President Donald J. Trump Tuesday evening endorsed Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in his U.S. Senate reelection bid despite the fact that Tillis a strong opponent of Trump’s border security agenda.
“Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina has really stepped up to the plate. Thom is tough on Crime, Strong on the Border and fights hard against Illegal Immigration. He loves our Military, our Vets and our great Second Amendment. I give Thom my Full and Total Endorsement!” Trump said on Twitter.
Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina has really stepped up to the plate. Thom is tough on Crime, Strong on the Border and fights hard against Illegal Immigration. He loves our Military, our Vets and our great Second Amendment. I give Thom my Full and Total Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2019
Unfortunately, Tillis has a record of opposing Trump’s stated goal of securing the border with a big, beautiful wall – and nearly everything else about the President. Here are five examples:
- Big League Politics caught up with Tillis on Capitol Hill in January, where he assured us that “there’s no such thing as a border wall,” when asked about border security. He was also critical of the wall on an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
- Tillis capitulated to the political left about U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s policy of family separation, saying “We should not be separating children migrants from their families.” Of course, he was silent about the Obama administration using the same tactics.
- Tillis broke with Trump on a February amendment to a bill that would have withdrawn U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Trump endorsed the amendment – again looking to make good on his promise of stopping the endless military conflict in the Middle East – but Tillis voted against it.
- Tillis opposed Trump last year when the President was considering leaving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), saying, “If they were seriously planning on withdrawing from NATO, I think it would create a unifying event unlike anything you’ve seen in U.S. history.” Tillis was referring to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle uniting to oppose a NATO withdrawal.
- Tillis openly supported former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into nonexistent Russian “collusion,” even sponsoring a bill to protect Mueller from being fired, which drew criticism from the rest of the GOP.
It is unclear why Trump would support someone who has worked so vehemently against him in the past. However, the timing of the endorsement suggests Trump might have been looking to get it out of the way.
The surprise endorsement comes quite early in the 2020 cycle. Tillis only has two declared opponents – a relatively unknown farm owner named Sandy Smith, and former CEO of Triangle Capital Garland Tucker. Rumors have swirled that Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) might also challenge Tillis.
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Mitch McConnell Preparing Exit Strategies, Potential Successors in Advance of Possible Retirement
Will Mitch retire?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly created a shortlist of potential successors, with the establishment Republican considering a possible retirement before his term ends. McConnell was reelected to another Senate term in 2020, and the Intercept broke the news of his retirement considerations on Thursday.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is reportedly McConnell’s first pick for his successor. Former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams are also possible replacements. McConnell, 79, has served as a Kentucky Senator since 1985.
Kentucky law currently would allow Governor Andy Beshear- a Democrat- to appoint McConnell’s successor if he retired. However, McConnell is pushing for the Republican state legislature to pass reforms allowing them to select replacements for Senators who have resigned. McConnell’s quiet boosting of legislative reforms to appoint interim Senators led to the reports of his potential retirement, although it’s unclear when he plans to leave the picture.
McConnell largely alienated the Republican Party with a forceful denunciation of former President Donald Trump during the second sham impeachment trial targeting the President, although he declined to vote to convict the President on the basis of legality. A Republican candidate in the mold of McConnell’s 20th century style would have a difficult time winning a Kentucky GOP primary, and McConnell’s appointed pick may start off in such an election with a considerable handicap. In addition, the legacy Senator remains popular in Kentucky, although at least one county party censured him for his betrayal of Trump in January.
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