Tillis Breaks GOP Ranks, Says Unvaccinated Americans Are to Blame for COVID Surge

Sen. Thom Tillis broke ranks with many Trump-loving governors on Friday when he said that unvaccinated Americans are to blame for the surge in COVID-19 cases, not undocumented immigrants. The recently re-elected Republican’s statement in a Zoom meeting with a local conservative group is in direct opposition to the right-wing claims that the surge of Central American migrants is driving the country’s current COVID-19 spike.

Tillis told the Council of Independent Business Owners (CIBC) on Thursday that it isn’t fair to blame immigrants for the spread of the novel coronavirus when so many Americans are refusing a free vaccine.

SEPTEMBER 27 – WASHINGTON, DC: Senator Thom Tillis before the hearing. Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary committee regarding sexual assault allegations at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Thursday, September 27, 2018. Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Tillis said that the situation in North Carolina could grow so severe in the coming weeks that an economic shutdown could be possible. “If you look at a state like North Carolina, even absent the possible threat of spreading through illegal crossings, we’ve got a real problem here with people not getting the vaccine,” he said. “I think the biggest factor right now is we have far too many people who are refusing to get the vaccine.”

The senator told CIBO members that like them, he too was “alarmed” about what he called “the record number of immigrants and the asylum process” that he said was likely allowing people from a “criminal element” to slip into the state. But he pushed back when asked whether immigrants were exacerbating the state’s pandemic situation.

But Tillis also said he did believe unvaccinated and untested immigrants represented “a threat,” telling the group, “I would say that they may be a factor, but I think the biggest factor right now is we have far too many people who are refusing to get the vaccine.”

“It may very well be that they have to do a shutdown to get control over it, because our population is not helping get control over it by having more people vaccinated,” he said.

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