Full interview: Tillis on pandemic relief, Fauci, Senate campaign
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis discusses his optimism for passage of a coronavirus pandemic relief package before the election, his confidence in infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and the final two weeks of the Senate campaign between him and Democrat Cal Cunningham.
We're talking with North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis. Here we are. Two weeks from the Election Day. Senator Tillis. Thanks for your time. Thank you, David. Let's go. First things first. Uh, Amy Coney Barrett. The committee will vote this week. Is that right? That's right. We're scheduled about at one oclock on Thursday and she will be reported out of committee, then eligible for a full Senate a few days late. Let's talk about stimulus package. Will we see one in the next 48 hours? Well, Dave, I hope so. You know, I voted for a stimulus package about a month ago for paycheck protection, education, vaccine unemployment. I hope that we can negotiate something that also has individual payments to people who are struggling. The eight million who have moved to the poverty level since Kobe that our stores. This is desperately needed support. We need to set aside our differences and vote on something that I know people in North Carolina expect us to do. Can that be done? Can those differences be set aside enough to get this into reality this time? Well, we heard reports today that the gap is being bridged between Secretary Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi. I think the major sticking point is that Nancy Pelosi from California and Chuck Schumer want to bail out New York and California. Who? Britain's serious fiscal travel before we ever had the crisis. I do support some funding for states because states have been hit hard in terms of revenues. But I think that Speaker Pelosi needs to fall short of a total bailout for two failed states. They need to do the hard work we did in North Carolina. So I'm guardedly optimistic we will have a vote on the floor. Uh, tomorrow, probably not later today, and will continue to work. I think we should stay in Washington and do that. The election is just two weeks away, but nothing is more important than getting the additional support out to the businesses and families. Senator, tell us you've been a staunch supporter of the president. You've also been a supporter of Dr Fauci. President Trump made some really disparaging comments regarding Dr Fauci yesterday. Do you agree with that? I have complete confidence in Dr Falke. I have complete confidence in the C. D. C. The Cova task force. They're working in a very challenging environment. But at the end of the day, I'm going to trust science and trust Scientists, epidemiologists, the FDA for approving the vaccine. You remember in a debate my opponent, Count Cunningham, said that he I would be hesitant or wouldn't take the vaccine. I've got confidence in the people that we have on the front lines, the health care professionals, and I'm gonna continue to have their confidence just very quickly. Then were you when you heard the president say that? What were your thoughts? Well, I'm not really sure what the president was talking about. They have a number of different conversations over the course of the day, but I've been following this very closely. Dave, I'm having my 69th telephone town hall this afternoon. I've consistently said trust the covert task force trust doctor of algae Trust the scientists that are doing the best to manage public health that I'm going to continue to support them right before we get to your campaign. One of the things are you scheduled to take part in a u. N. C. Plan on donating plasma since your recovery. Yeah, I've actually enrolled in a surveillance study that I started participating in the day that I got cleared and participated everyday. Volunteered on. I'm trying to schedule the donation of plasma. You could do that about every 28 days and I'll provide my plasma. Hopefully, it will help someone get through a covert infection sooner. And I'm also enrolling in a blood survey that is being paired up with some of the work they're doing with plasma. You and see, I'm gonna do everything I can to help. Symptoms were mild. I was cleared by the C. D. C. But way should encourage everyone who has recovered from the buyer office to contact their doctors and figure out ways that they can help. Right? This morning, you issued a statement after the N and O reported the Cal Cunningham is refusing to deny a new report that he had a second additional extramarital affair with a Raleigh woman. Tell me about the reasoning behind this statement this morning. Well, the reasoning behind it is that cutting has been AWOL since he admitted to the first affair with the wife of a wounded warrior. Now we have a separate second affair that he's not denying, and I think that probably speaks volumes. He is under investigation by the Department of the Army. Minimally, he's going to get a letter of reprimand, but based on the circumstances of now to affairs, he could potentially be subject to court martial. I think that is a very important factor that North Carolina voters should have going into the into the voting booth. That's very, very important. He built his whole campaign at the debate at your station on truth and honor. He's been untruthful and dishonorable, and he's under investigation by the Department of the Army. This speaks to his credibility and its truthfulness. If he's willing to cheat on his family, I'm not sure that we can trust him. The best represent us up in the U. S. Senate. Do you sense that this issue is gaining traction resonating with voters on? I asked this for this reason, Senator, 10 years ago, an issue like this probably, or could have ended someone's campaign, maybe a political career. I think back to John Edwards now, with the new cycle being what it is and so much air sucked out of the cycle by the president almost on a daily basis, this story hits and seems to bounce off people well today, I hope we don't lower the bar. I mean, that's a terrible standard for future people who would run for the U. S. Senate. We're not talking about unfair. That occurred years ago. We're talking about a fair that occurred in his own home months ago. Uh, and again, he's dishonored. The uniform that he wears, his military career is probably ended. And that's not the sort of person that's not the sort of integrity that I expect in a U. S. Senator. This is a tough job, and you have to be held to a very high standard. And I hope that the North Carolina voters do not lower the bar. It's a It's a terrible statement to make for your sons, your daughters, your husband's your brothers, your sisters. I mean, that is not a standard that I want to have hold in the United States. And certainly for a candidate for the U. S. Senate Senator, it's a different world. So where will you be on election night? Uh, I will be in in the Charlotte area way will have a small, socially distance, uh, group together but I'll be mainly with my family and many of my supporters who have been working so hard, and I appreciate it. We're doing it for them. And I look forward to Election Day. I really don't remember. Third, everybody needs to get out the vote. I hope you vote for May. But more importantly, I just hope you vote. Yeah. How about thes early voting numbers? We've not seen anything like this. Yeah, I think a part of it. Uh, this is gonna be, I think, a historic turnout. $233 million been spent in the Senate race alone, the majority Chuck Schumer contributing to Cal Cunningham's campaign. There's a lot of awareness it's a presidential cycle on. I also think there are a lot of people that have paid attention in part because of the stay at home in orders. They probably are a little bit more informed than normal states are very hard to control of the U. S. Senate is the thing I'm working hardest on because I believe Republican control of the Senate can provide a good check and balance against anything that happens in the White House. And I am supporting President Trump's reelection. But the U. S Senate majority is critically important for the future of this country, Senator Thom Tillis says. Always, we appreciate your time and insight. Good luck to you, sir. Thank you, Dave.