Yesterday, I wrote “We’re about to see if Thom Tillis stands by the courage of his convictions.” Well, he doesn’t. His convictions are about as firm and malleable as modelling clay. 

After penning an op-ed that laid out the case for opposing Donald Trump’s executive overreach in signing the emergency declaration, Thom Tillis voted yesterday to support the president’s emergency declaration. In his op-ed, he went so far as to write, “It’s never a tough vote for me when I’m standing on principle.” Yesterday, he showed he has no principles on which to stand. 

No reputable news organization should ever print anything Tillis writes again. He used the Washington Post to send up a trial balloon and when it didn’t fly too well, he just acted like he had never written it. He showed no respect for the publication or its readers. The only thing sacred to him is his own political skin. From now on, confine him to Fox News and the dark corner of the web that supports Info Wars where truth is relative and alternative facts thrive. 

Twelve of Tillis’ GOP colleagues broke with the president and voted to block the emergency declaration. Meanwhile, conservative columnists slammed Tillis. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin described it as “breathtaking cowardice.” Commentary editor John Podhoretz called it “a weasel action the likes of which we’ve rarely seen.” National Review editor Jay Nordlinger cited a Fred Barnes quote, referring to Tillis as “a tower of jello.”

I got the scenario wrong. I thought Tillis believed his principled stand would help inoculate him from a serious general election since he didn’t appear to have a serious primary challenge. That changed after the op-ed. Once he was threatened with a challenge from the Trumpists like Mark Walker, he folded like a cheap suit. 

As I watched Tillis operate as house speaker in North Carolina, I suspected he cared more about his political future than anything else. In the Age of Trump, though, I saw him as a potential ally in holding Trump’s authoritarian instincts in check. I believed, or hoped, his outreach to Democrats was sincere and a signal that he was concerned about Trump’s abuse of power. Turns out, he’s who I originally thought him to be. 

Tillis continues the trend in the GOP where words have no meaning. He’s embraced the Trump strategy of “say anything” because their base will believe it. If Tillis will sellout his convictions after publishing an article in a national publication, imagine how fast he’ll sellout his constituents in North Carolina.


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