North Carolina newspaper applauds Republican senator for forceful condemnation of 'mass murderer' ​Putin as others in GOP waver

North Carolina newspaper applauds Republican senator for forceful condemnation of 'mass murderer' ​Putin as others in GOP waver

The list of far-right MAGA Republicans who have praised Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2022 — even in the days leading up to Russian troops’ horrific invasion of Ukraine — is a long one, ranging from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to former President Donald Trump himself. And Lauren Witzke, the QAnon supporter and self-described “Christian nationalist” who lost to Sen. Chris Coons by 22% in Delaware’s 2020 U.S. Senate race, recently praised Putin as a symbol of Christian piety, saying, “I identify more with Putin's Christian values than I do with Joe Biden.”

Trump and opinion hosts at Fox News have had so much praise for Putin that “Saturday Night Live” opened its March 5 broadcast with a skit that brutally mocked their admiration for the Russian strongman. And other Republicans who haven’t outright praised Putin have been reluctant to openly criticize him because they are afraid to say or do anything that might offend Dear Leader Trump.

But one conservative Republican who hasn’t been shy about condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and the Raleigh News & Observer’s editorial board applauds him for taking a stand in an editorial published on March 3.

At a press conference on March 2, Tillis told reporters, “Anybody who compliments Vladimir Putin is complimenting a mass murderer. There are no compliments coming from me or my office.”

In response to Tillis’ comments, the News & Observer’s editorial board writes, “Tillis showed that it’s not hard for Republicans to criticize Russia and Putin the right way. He didn’t dodge or deflect, nor did he taper his criticism by following it up with praise. He was clear: Putin is evil, and his invasion of Ukraine is wrong.”

The publication’s editorial board continues, “It’s not common these days to see Republicans contradict fellow party members, unless their name is Liz Cheney. Too often, they eschew their principles in favor of party loyalty. Even now, as Putin’s war kills innocent civilians and displaces hundreds of thousands more, many GOPers have chosen to focus the bulk of their criticism on President Joe Biden instead…. Tillis called for stiffer sanctions and for Biden to ‘take all steps necessary’ to expel Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.”

Although the News & Observer’s editorial board isn’t without criticism of Tillis, it is clearly glad to see him speaking out against Putin forcefully now.

“We wish Tillis had been as outspoken earlier than this, specifically when Trump, as president, buddied up to Putin and attempted to strong-arm Ukraine,” the editorial board writes. “But Tillis was clear and right this week. North Carolinians can be thankful for that.”

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