State Politics

NC’s US senators Thom Tillis, Richard Burr call on Republicans to unite behind Trump

U.S. Sen.-elect Thom Tillis, R-N.C., smiles as he answers a question from the media during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014.
U.S. Sen.-elect Thom Tillis, R-N.C., smiles as he answers a question from the media during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. AP

North Carolina’s two U.S. senators on Saturday called on Republicans to unite behind Donald Trump – but they had little to say about the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

Sen. Thom Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr spoke to the state Republican convention Saturday morning, offering pep talks for the coming campaigns.

Tillis’ speech didn’t mention Trump by name, but he made his views clear on the Republican leaders who say they won’t support the nominee’s campaign.

“Anybody who doesn’t support the Republican nominee ... is a RINO,” Tillis said, referring to the acronym “Republican In Name Only.”

“We have to recognize that more than anything else, we have to unite. At the end of the day, we’re all Republicans.”

Burr’s speech calling for unity went further. When someone in the audience shouted out Trump’s campaign slogan, Burr repeated it from the stage: “Make America great again,” he said.

“This has been the weirdest election cycle I’ve ever seen,” Burr said. “But there’s a point in time where having our preferences is no longer an option, and getting behind a candidate is absolutely essential. We’re there. It’s time. It’s time to elect a Republican president. ... It’s going to be Donald Trump.”

Asked by a reporter if he thinks Trump can defeat Hillary Clinton in November, he said “absolutely – I think Donald Trump is Hillary’s worst nightmare.”

But will he campaign with Trump in North Carolina? “I’m going to be focused on my own re-election,” he replied as he walked away from the reporter.

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