Trump and GOP monitor Tillis vote on border emergency


The White House is watching him. Republicans in Washington and North Carolina are taking note. And Senator Thom Tillis is again at the center of a trial to determine how close he will be to President Donald Trump.

"Just another day at the office," Tillis told reporters, on the road to a new Republican meeting, on the opportunity to cancel the declaration of the state of urgency presented by the president to pay the wall of his border. A little over an hour later, the GOP senators arrived with an answer: the vote will go against Trump, possibly with the help of Tillis.

Tillis' strong opposition statements to the use of executive power by Trump are not the first time that the former IBM consultant and chairman of the House of Representatives has challenged the president , who often considers that other Republicans are loyal to him. Tillis has been associated with Democrats earlier this year on legislation to protect the work of special advocate Robert Mueller to investigate the President's campaign and Russia's interference. in the 2016 election.

Tillis is the latest Republican to have reported to President "I am the only one to fix it", claiming that Trump's power is not absolute even in the midst of the crisis. Republicans are increasingly willing to publicly challenge Trump on topics ranging from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to the apparently favorable attitude of the president towards Russia.

For Tillis, 58, decisions on when and when to support or oppose Trump are clearly obscured by his expected candidacy for a second term in the Senate next year – and by the desire to repel the fiery opponents. In a ground address and editorial in the Washington Post, Tillis explained that he shared Trump's concerns about border security. But he firmly stated that Trump's efforts to bypass Congress and pay for his wall went beyond the separation of powers established by the Constitution.

"These are the reasons why I would vote in favor of the resolution disapproving the president 's national emergency declaration," he wrote.

Tillis would be firmly placed among the influential centrists of the Senate, such as Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Only Tillis' vote this week was not so firm at times. In meetings with Senate Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence, Tillis suggested that he could vote in the manner of Trump – but only if the president agrees to limit the president's power to get from Federal money by declaring a national emergency. On Wednesday, an observer estimated that 15 Republican senators would vote against the president.

The uncertainty and apparent hesitations of Tillis seemed to aim to appease the GOP base at home and among the self-employed.

"He needs both an enthusiastic party base and at least some independent voters to win," said Eric Heberlig, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "Calling on one, it's basically excluding support from the other."

While Tillis was a reliable conservative vote during his first term, he also insisted on bipartisanship, leaving just a few days this year without press releases highlighting the bills he's introduced to Democrats .

Republicans at home had questioned Tillis' support for Trump when he had co-sponsored legislation to protect Mueller's work. Tillis said in January that he did not believe Trump would dismiss the special prosecutor, but called this bipartisan bill a "good government policy with lasting value for current and future administrations".

Dianne Parnell, president of the Rockingham County Republican Party, said Wednesday that she was wondering if Tillis' apparent second thought about the resolution of the emergency situation at the border changes her vision of him.

"We want him to support our president," said Parnell, adding that the moment had not yet come for Tillis to go on the other side and accuse the Democrats to be hyper partisan. "I would be delighted if he changed his mind."

The suspicion of Republican activists about Tillis has been around for years. While Tillis helped lead the GOP's conservative control before the state legislature for the first time in 140 years in 2011, some far-right members did not think it was sufficiently conservative.

This forced Tillis to face up to credible opponents in the 2014 Republican Senate primaries before thwarting Democratic Senator Kay Hagan later in the year in a race where both parties spent more than $ 100 million.

State democrats expect a reversal of confidence in the resolution. Party spokesman Robert Howard said on Wednesday that it would not have been long before Tillis "loses his spine and falls back into President Trump's mind."


Robertson reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Lisa Mascaro, associate editor, and researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.

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