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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Tillis supports Trump’s airstrike decision

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Political Notebook

Sen. Thom Tillis recently appeared on Fox News to congratulate President Donald Trump’s airstrike that killed Qassim Soleimani, the commander of Iranian forces.

“We’ve taken out a top terrorist who has done Iran’s bidding across the world. He’s responsible for hundreds of American lives and the lives of others who are fighting for freedom in the region,” Tillis said. “I appreciate President Trump’s resolve, and I think it was an appropriate action.”

Tillis said for 20 years, Soleimani has done Iran’s bidding and the country is “the top state sponsor of terror in the world. Hundreds of millions of dollars go to terrorist organizations across the globe, including our hemisphere, and he was at the front of it.”

Soleimani was 15 miles from the American Embassy in Baghdad when he was killed.

“How could anyone think that Soleimani was going over there to make peace?” Tillis said. “He was going there to orchestrate the next wave of violence in Iraq, putting American men and women at risk.”

The U.S. senator from North Carolina condemned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s negative rhetoric about the attacks.

“If she wants to come to the table and do what she can to make American men and women safer in the region, then I think the president would welcome that, but taking this political position is not very productive,” he said.

Tillis criticized for pharma contributions

North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard said Friday that Sen. Thom Tillis “topped the list” of national lawmakers receiving contributions from major pharmaceutical companies last year. Howard said at the same time, he was opposing efforts in the U.S. Senate to cap prescription drug prices.

Howard said Tillis has been “bankrolled by Big Pharma, receiving the second-most money among senators from the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.”

“Senator Tillis continues to show he’ll side with the drug company CEOs and their corporate profits over bringing down costs for North Carolina seniors and working families,” Howard said. “As big pharmaceutical CEOs hike prices on lifesaving medications like vaccines and cancer treatments and Senator Tillis helps Mitch McConnell obstruct meaningful action on prescription drug prices, it’s clear Tillis’ priority is helping his special interest backers rather than North Carolinians.”

Cunningham’s position questioned

North Carolina Republican Party spokesman Jeff Hauser called out Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Cal Cunningham for tweeting support for the endorsement of the group VoteVets over its criticism of President Donald Trump. Cunningham is challenging Sen. Thom Tillis.

Hauser called VoteVets a “liberal dark money group” and said VoteVets criticized Trump’s decision to kill Iranian military Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in a drone strike Friday.

“Cal Cunningham is always quick to point out his military expertise, but now that President Trump has delivered a major victory for freedom by taking out a ruthless murderer responsible for the lives of hundreds of Americans, he has nothing to say,” Hauser said. “VoteVets has made it clear they would rather be an Iranian apologist than support our military. Does Cunningham stand with their endorsement or does he stand with America’s armed forces?”

Dobson endorses Sykes for secretary of state

Evangelical Christian leader James C. Dobson has endorsed Republican candidate E.C. Sykes in his bid to become North Carolina’s next secretary of state, citing Sykes’ conservative positions on abortion and family issues.

Sykes’ campaign announced the endorsement on Monday. Dobson is an author and psychologist known for founding the group Focus on the Family.

“It is my pleasure to be among the many conservatives who are supporting E.C. Sykes’ candidacy for secretary of state for North Carolina,” Dobson said in a statement. “E.C. is a conservative who will fight for our shared values on issues that are important to people of faith. He will be a strong voice in North Carolina and across the nation by standing for religious liberty, speaking out for the unborn and defending the institution of the family,”

Sykes thanked Dobson for his vote of confidence.

“I am humbled to have the support of Dr. Dobson in my campaign,” Sykes said in a news release. “For decades, Dr. Dobson has been a leader who has advanced the conservative movement, advocating for a return to the principles our country was founded on. Now more than ever, North Carolina needs to return to these principles as the foundation on which we’ll build a future for the next generations.”

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK is a weekly roundup of local and state political news from The Wilson Times’ reporting staff. Send tips and comments to