Senator Thom Tillis is one of the Republicans who rarely makes headlines, and probably prefers it that way to keep getting re-elected. Few on the national stage had heard of him until last month when he came out against Donald Trump’s national emergency nonsense, only to vote for it anyway after being threatened with a primary challenger. It’s probably the same threat that’s caused him to open his mouth yet again – only to make him look even more foolish.
In an interview with NC Policy Watch this week, Tillis was asked if he was concerned at all about Donald Trump’s increasingly weird behavior, particularly when it came to the Mueller report. “What I liked the most is about the smart people that he had advising him. Because that’s why at the end of the day they drew the conclusion there was no obstruction,” said Tillis.
Of course, Tillis knows there was no conclusion of the kind, but he doesn’t care as long as his own base buys that. The Republicans have already been asked to run independently of Trump in 2020, when Tillis is up for re-election in a relatively purple state. He’s afraid to effectively dismiss the report – but he’s also afraid of stoking Donald Trump’s anger. Rather than admit there’s evidence that Trump is guilty, he’s decided to rationalize it by saying “Good thing for Trump’s people! They kept him from breaking the law!”
In other words, Tillis has completely given up on trying to defend Trump’s moral character, because there isn’t any. The bar for president is apparently someone with a staff who will simply disobey his illegal and morally questionable orders. We’ll see how well it resonates with voters, especially since Tillis may be facing a whole other environment by next November, and whether he’ll have to distance himself from these remarks by then – something he seems prepared to do – but the bottom line here is they can’t vouch for Trump’s character anymore and it’s no longer a secret.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making