Editorial Roundup: North Carolina

Charlotte Observer/Raleigh News and Observer. February 14, 2024.

Editorial: Thom Tillis defies Trump, tells colleagues to ‘grow a spine’ on Ukraine

Last week we wrote about Sen. Thom Tillis and his disappointing decision to withhold support for the bipartisan border security deal that would have been the biggest change to immigration law in decades.

We asked: “If Tillis is willing to abandon his principles whenever his Republican colleagues leave him standing in the middle of the aisle alone, then what good are they?”

So we were glad to see him take a principled stance this week on a $95.3 billion foreign aid package for Israel and Ukraine that has received a lukewarm response at best from much of the Republican party.

Tillis wasn’t quite standing alone, but he was one of just 22 Republican senators who joined Democrats in supporting the legislation, openly defying Donald Trump and other GOP hardliners. Trump spent the weekend voicing his opposition to the aid package and demanded that any foreign aid only be given as a loan, calling unconditional aid “stupid.” Tillis said in remarks from the Senate floor,that the cost of not supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia and Vladimir Putin — as Trump has suggested the U.S. do — is simply too high.

Tillis even went so far as to criticize his Republican colleagues for using the “base” as an excuse for opposing Ukraine aid, saying that any U.S. senator should know what’s at stake if Putin wins.

“Some people around here, if they are really being driven just by the perceptions of their base, they should grow a spine and explain if they think it’s a tough vote. It’s not a tough vote for me,” Tillis said, according to Punchbowl News.

We’ve criticized Tillis in the past for kowtowing to Trump, so good on him for refusing to do so this time around. While we still wish this version of Thom Tillis would’ve shown up last week, we’re glad to see him make an appearance now. It’s exactly the kind of lawmaker we have long wanted Tillis and his fellow Republicans to be: the kind who thinks and acts independently and doesn’t sacrifice principles for political gain.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for North Carolina’s other senator, Ted Budd, who voted against the bill. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Budd said, “I opposed the national security spending package that didn’t include border security. We must secure our own border before we help other countries protect theirs.” (Budd also voted against last week’s bill that did include border security.)

House Republicans seem to be more aligned with Budd than Tillis, however. Tillis told reporters that the bill’s only hope may be for a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans to bypass leadership and sign a discharge petition to pass it. Rep. Dan Bishop, who is running for state attorney general, said in a social media post that House Republicans are “ready” to continue the fight to defeat the bill, and Speaker Mike Johnson has said it will not even receive a vote in the House since it does not include border security measures.

If Republicans are so insistent on pairing Ukraine aid with border security, then why did they torpedo legislation last week that would have done exactly that? The answer seems clear: because Trump said so. That’s a shame. Lawmakers should follow Tillis’ lead and use their position to do what’s right rather than blindly follow their leader.


Greensboro News and Record. February 9, 2024.

Editorial: ACC’s bittersweet call

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s storied men’s basketball tournament will return to Greensboro in 2027 and again in 2029.

The Greensboro Coliseum also will host the ACC women’s tournament in 2025.

“We will certainly continue to populate Greensboro with our championship,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said ahead of Thursday’s official announcement of the dates and sites.

What’s more, following this year’s men’s tournament in Washington, D.C., the event will be held in North Carolina for five straight years.

In addition to the two years in Greensboro, the tournament will be played in Charlotte’s Spectrum Center in 2025, 2026 and 2028.

The women’s tournament will return to the Greensboro Coliseum next year and then moves to the Spectrum Center in 2027. The site for 2026 has not yet been determined.

There’s more. The city also will host:

The ACC gymnastics championship in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

The conference swimming and diving championships in 2025 and from 2027-29.

The ACC women’s golf championship in 2025, 2027 and 2029.

Yet, as good as all this may sound at first blush, it still feels in the end like getting a third-place trophy.

By all rights, Greensboro ought to be hosting the lion’s share of ACC tournaments. We’ve earned the privilege. We do it better and appreciate it more than anyone else. But it’s not clear that the ACC agrees.

The two newly announced dates for Greensboro simply fulfill obligations the ACC already had to the city as part of a state Department of Commerce incentives deal. Beyond that, who knows?

To be honest, who knows anything anymore about what’s to come in big-time college athletics, where chasing the biggest payday has become the major revenue sport?

And where history is, well, yesterday’s news.

Thursday’s news conference announcing the future sites of the tournament and other championships was held in Charlotte for a reason. After spending a lifetime in Greensboro, where the ACC was born, the league’s offices moved last year to the Queen City for no compelling reason.

Greensboro leaders answered every question and concern in their bid to the keep the ACC here, but when all was said and done, it didn’t matter.

Loyalty didn’t matter. Tradition didn’t matter. Even the existence of the ACC itself is no sure thing anymore in today’s perpetually shifting landscape in college sports, where heaven and earth are moved routinely in search of the best TV contracts and biggest payouts.

Schools come and go. Conferences expand, contract and sometimes disappear. Show them the money and they’ll shuffle the chess pieces faster than many fans can keep up.

So, the sting of disappointment may not be as acute as it first was in Greensboro when the ACC decided to relocate its offices to Charlotte, but it’s still there.

And remember, although the ACC’s choice of tournament sites may include an element of goodwill, much of it obviously also is a business obligation. Adding insult to the indignity of the move to Charlotte was a $15 million incentives deal with state lawmakers that required the conference to keep its headquarters in North Carolina for 15 years and to hold a certain number of championships in the state over the next few years. The pact included two men’s tournaments in Greensboro.

So, we’re happy that the ACC will “populate” Greensboro with events at first-class facilities such as the Greensboro Coliseum, the Greensboro Aquatic Center and Sedgefield Country Club, where the league was founded in 1953, but then what?

Finally, there’s the air of uncertainty surrounding the future of the women’s tournament in Greensboro, where it has been played every year but one since 2000. Why keep the site open for 2026 before moving it to Charlotte in 2027, rather than allowing Greensboro to host it for another year?

That’s why Thursday’s announcement tastes so bittersweet.

There’s no such thing as a tie in basketball, but this sure felt like one.