Sep 2 2015

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis addressed the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015 and the 2016 presidential race during his visit to Brunswick County last week.
 
Tillis and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer attended the Brunswick County GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner Thursday night. Many local elected officials attended the fundraiser, but national issues dominated the evening’s conversation.
 
Tillis, the keynote speaker, took to the podium to discuss international relations in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific regions. He said the United States needs to take a stronger stance when dealing with the leaders of North Korea, Russia and China.
 
“The biggest problem that we have, and the reason we’re talking about those legitimate threats today, is that we have a president who believes—I sincerely believe this—that presenting the United States in a weaker fashion will somehow make our adversaries play nice,” he said. 
 
Tillis called this “a very dangerous calculation.”
 
“It’s one of the reasons why I voted for the National Defense Authorization to increase spending in the military sector, to try to take the edge off sequestration that is threatening our ability to train, equip and deploy American men and women if there’s ever a place in conflict that we have to go,” Tillis said. 
 
He said he didn’t want to send American men and women into harm’s way.
 
“But the greatest possibility to prevent that is to make it very clear that we can do that,” he said. 
 
Tillis then addressed the Iran Nuclear Review Act, and equated it to watching a movie where the audience knows one of the characters is guilty of murder.
 
“We know they’re guilty,” he said. “Yet, we’re sitting across the table as if they’re equal partners—as if they’re people who respect sovereign nations and other people’s way of life. That’s why the Iranian deal is bad.”
 
He pledged to work to defeat the agreement.
 
“I can’t speak for the House, but I can speak for the Senate; every Republican to a person will vote to disapprove this agreement,” he said, drawing applause from the audience.
 
Tillis said he felt the U.S. had reached a “low point” in global security and the country was going in the wrong direction. He said even with the “right sort of leadership,” it will take years to get the country back to where it needs to be as the “defender of freedom.”
 
He also spoke to the nation’s economy, noting the stock market last week “looked like the EKG of a heart attack patient.”
 
He said that was an indication of how the country is failing at economic policy.
“We’re taxing too much, we’re regulating too much, we’re denying the states the freedom to manage their economies the way that they want to—we’re simply failing the American people on the economic front,” he said.
 
Tillis advocated for regulatory reform and reducing the tax burden.
 
“We’ve got to do a lot of what we did here in North Carolina,” he said.
 
Tillis said he felt that the House and Senate have a good relationship.
 
“I tell everybody it’s sort of like the legislature in Raleigh,” he said. “Here, I love all those House members individually; I kinda hate them sometimes collectively. But we have different challenges, we have different make-ups, we have different thresholds that we have to achieve to get votes through. We’re necessarily going to have that friction.”
 
He said that friction is democracy, and it helped ensure that “nothing bad gets through very quickly.”
 
He compared being a politician to being a football player. 
 
“When we’re in the campaign, it’s a win-lose scenario,” he said. “You put on your red jersey, they put on their blue jersey, you meet at the line and you just crush them.
 
You try to knock that little old ball to the ground, take it away, and take it into the conservative end zone.”
 
He said once a politician is elected, the game changes and there’s a different goal and a different number.
 
“You all get up, you go call the play, you go line-up, you get down on the line, and you have one guy reach over and say, ‘Guys, to make this play work, we need four of you to help us get the ball,’” he explained. “Then all of a sudden, while you’re having that discussion, somebody in the back says, ‘Thom, I’m not really with you on this one. I’m running for president’ or something else, so now, you walk back and say, ‘Actually, we need five.’
 
“That’s the challenge in the Senate to get bills passed.”
 
Tillis said it’s a challenge to get a majority, and then the president has the power to veto the bill.
 
He noted that it’s now primary season, and the Republican party has 17 major candidates, many of whom he knew.
 
“I’ve met Mr. Trump; he wouldn’t remember me,” he said, drawing laughs from the crowd. 
 
He said he often sees the Senate members who are running for president. 
 
“I see a lot of them in the cloak room all at the same time,” he said. “In fact, I kind of joke with them, when they’re three or four of us together, I call them all ‘Mr. President.’”
 
Tillis said he was glad the Republicans had a “loud, raucous primary going on now,” because it facilitated “great discussion.”
 
“We’re approaching the issues and communicating in ways that we never have before,” he said. “I think that we’re really beginning to stimulate the American electorate’s thinking. This is the right time to be doing this sort of stuff.”
 
He encouraged Brunswick County GOP members to get out in the community and work hard to get the votes necessary to “make America great again.”

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