Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina called the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump “a waste of resources” on Wednesday morning when asked if he had concerns about Trump’s public call for foreign governments to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“I’m going to leave it to the President to make that decision,” Tillis told CNN on Wednesday morning. His comments followed a town hall meeting with farmers alongside Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in Monroe, North Carolina.
“I’ve seen the transcript, I’ve seen the complaint, and if that alone is all they’re using to drive all the resources in the House, then I think it’s a waste of resources,” Tillis said. “We need to focus on the things that we can do for the American worker and the American economy, while we’re shifting resources away for what I don’t believe rise to the level of any kind of impeachment inquiry or impeachment.”
Tillis also cited how the full House of Representatives did not vote to open an impeachment inquiry as Republicans have called for and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has thus far said she is not planning to do.
“The impeachment inquiry now, apparently, didn’t raise to a level that the speaker thought that it should have a vote on the floor to move forward,” Tillis said.
He is among several potentially vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2020, many of whom had remained relatively quiet on the impeachment issue in recent days.
The President holds powerful sway over congressional Republicans, largely because he is wildly popular with the same Republican voters who will decide whether to reelect these lawmakers. Most who defy Trump end up out of office. Trump won North Carolina in 2016.
During a private phone call in July, Trump urged the President of Ukraine to investigate the Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The release of a whistleblower’s complaint led to an impeachment inquiry in the Democratically controlled House. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden in Ukraine.
Tillis was also asked about Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria in advance of a planned Turkish military offensive — a move many Republicans are speaking out against. Trump faced a barrage of criticism from within his own party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, about the decision.
“I am absolutely concerned with the situation in Syria, particularly with the work we’ve done with the coalitions to route ISIS, to basically destroy the caliphate in Syria,” Tillis said. “But at this point, I’ve given the President the benefit of the doubt. We’ll go back next week, we’ll be in, I’m sure we’ll have a classified briefing, and then I’ll have a better access to the facts that he may have used to make that decision.”