Senator Tillis’ Strong, Bipartisan COVID-19 Response

April 24, 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Earlier this week, the Raleigh News & Observer examined how Senator Thom Tillis has taken a number of steps to provide steady leadership and commonsense solutions as North Carolina confronts the COVID-19 pandemic. The News & Observer noted that Tillis has been keeping his constituents updated on federal response efforts with daily telephone town halls, is urging North Carolinians to follow public health guidelines on social distancing and mask wearing, has voted for all four bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages that have provided vital resources to North Carolina, and is holding China accountable for their role in the spread of the outbreak.

From the News & Observer

  • Tillis is holding regular public telephone town halls, pushing the callers to wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines while answering constituent questions about government actions in response to the virus.

    Tillis, who held his 24th town hall on Wednesday, has been supportive of the response of governors, including Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in North Carolina, and the federal government led by President Donald Trump. He has, instead, cast blame on China for its lack of transparency at the beginning of the outbreak.

    Tillis, in his first term in the Senate, said his criticism is aimed at China “for allowing it to get to this point.”

    “I don’t trust China, and I don’t believe their numbers,” he said. “I don’t believe you can believe the numbers they’ve reported. They started out by deceiving the rest of the world.”

    In the calls, Tillis often invokes his daughter who is a nurse and his young granddaughter, who lives nearby but whom Tillis and his wife have not visited in weeks due to the stay-at-home orders. He implores people to wear face masks, comparing those that don’t to the oft-mocked college spring breakers who descended on Florida’s beaches early in the crisis.

    The questions are most often about enforcing social distancing and government actions such as stimulus checks, small business assistance and unemployment insurance.

    Tillis, who along with all but one other Republican senator was named to an economic task force for reopening the country’s economy, has supported the four coronavirus aid packages that have passed the Senate, including a replenishing this week of billions for loans and grants to small businesses to keep workers on their payroll.

Here is more of what members of the media are saying about Tillis’ COVID-19 response efforts: 

  • Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Boards: “In North Carolina, we appreciated Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. Richard Hudson joining Democratic Rep. David Price this week to craft a letter to Vice President Mike Pence questioning the shortage of Covid-19 tests. We also appreciated Tillis applauding N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper for measures the governor took Thursday and again Saturday to slow the spread of the virus.” (Charlotte Observer-N&O, 3/13/20)

    Associated Press: “In North Carolina, Sen. Thom Tillis, who is among the GOP senators whose elections could determine if the party keeps control of the Senate, has been repeatedly complimentary in public of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and his decisions.” (AP, 4/24/20)

    WRAL: “U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has consistently complimented Cooper’s handling of the crisis” (WRAL, 4/22/20)

    WRAL’s Travis Fain: “I’ve been on half a dozen Tillis teleconferences and pretty well each time he has complimented the governor’s efforts, encouraged people to social distance and, most recently, chastised people who don’t wear masks.” (Twitter, 4/21/20) 

    Raleigh News & Observer’s Brian Murphy: “The Tillis campaign has largely avoided going after Cunningham during the coronavirus outbreak. (Though other groups have.) He’s applauded Gov. Cooper several times on Twitter for moves in-state.” (Twitter, 3/26/20)

    WRAL’s Andy Specht: “I just saw this Tillis tweet below and it reminded me of what you said yesterday. More praise for bipartisanship.” (Twitter, 3/18/20)

    Roll Call“Sen. Thom Tillis, the North Carolina Republican who has a tough reelection fight this November against Democrat Cal Cunningham, has backed his state’s stay-at-home orders from Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. ‘We have not hit the peak of the curve yet,’ Tillis noted during a virtual town hall this week.” (Roll Call, 4/23/20)

    Spectrum News: “Tillis is hosting almost daily coronavirus telephone town halls through his official Senate office, taking constituent questions about the outbreak and the federal response.” (Spectrum News, 4/6/20)

    Salisbury Post: “Tillis, a Republican, urged listeners to do their part to flatten the curve by wearing a face mask, staying at home if possible and maintaining social distancing.” (Salisbury Post, 4/9/20)

    Spectrum News: “In a telephone town hall with constituents Friday morning, Tillis stressed repeatedly that in order to start easing restrictions, people need to continue to abide by social distancing practices to help flatten the curve. Tillis is advocating for what he described as a data-driven “staggered” reopening in North Carolina. (Spectrum News, 4/17/20)

    WLOS-Asheville“Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) held another town hall question and answer session Tuesday morning, April 14th, taking questions from North Carolinians about the response to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to protect the physical and economic health of North Carolinians.” (WLOS, 3/30/20)