U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) held a telephone town hall Tuesday for residents in Wilson, Wayne and Lenoir counties, taking submitted questions and live inquiries from constituents in Eastern North Carolina.
Tillis, former N.C. Speaker of the House, stressed the need for Republicans to wield their Congressional supermajority with a look to bipartisanship, something he said Democrats failed to do when they held majorities in the House and Senate.
“We need to get members on both sides of the aisle talking,” he said.
One bipartisan measure Tillis seemed open to is the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“I would have no objection to it,” Tillis said during the call. “I don’t think there’s any question that the Russians interfered in the election. I think it’s very important for us to get to the bottom of it and to ultimately have consequences.”
Tillis said when the deputy attorney general is confirmed the investigation can continue and a special prosecutor is one option they’ll explore going forward.
Tillis also devoted a large portion of the hour-long town call to border security, largely due to his visit to the border last week, which included stops in McAllen and Laredo in Texas.
Taking a question on immigration, Tillis first was optimistic before suggesting that immigration was another aspect of the larger issue of border security.
“I’d like to be a part of a Congress that ultimately solves the problem,” he said, eventually suggesting he was open to “some sort of protected status” for Dreamers but not citizenship. “This is one part of the immigration system that we have to fix. We have got to secure our border.”
Tillis said he learned during his visit to the Rio Grande Valley about the restrictions preventing a wall along the border and he said a varied approach to security would accomplish more than a wall along the length of the border.
“Using technology and resources is the way that I think we should secure the border,” he said.
Tillis used some anecdotes from his trip to illustrate the alarming rate of drugs crossing the border and described the border region there as a “lawless area” where “gangs are coming across the border.”
Pressed on whether he would assure no taxpayer money went toward the construction of the wall, Tillis balked.
“I would love for Mexico to help pay for the cost of the wall but we have to secure the border,” he said.