‘Figure it out’: Vulnerable GOP senator apologises after staffer snaps at three-time cancer survivor over health care

Thom Tillis trails Democratic challenger in crucial race as Republicans fight to keep control of Senate

Republican senator criticised for suggesting Hispanics less likely to wear masks and social distance

Vulnerable North Carolina GOP Senator Thom Tillis, often identified by Donald Trump as an ally, has apologised to a constituent for an insulting tone by a staffer during a conversation about health care.

The apology comes with Mr Tillis trailing Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham in his bid for another six-year term as Republicans try to keep control of the Senate. It remains unclear if the president has any coattails in swing states he won four years ago like North Carolina, where he either is trailing or in a dead heat with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Bev Veals of Carolina Beach, a three-time cancer survivor, reached out to Mr Tillis’ office about her medical and subsequent financial situation. She has faced medical bankruptcy several times and was having trouble getting the health care she required, as first reported by WRAL-TV.

With her husband furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic, she was looking for some guarantee that she would have some kind of health coverage if she lost her insurance.

She did not obtain that assurance when she called Mr Tillis’ staff.

"You're saying that, if you can't afford it, you don't get to have it?" Ms Veals asked. "That includes health care?"

"So what do I do in the meantime, sir?" she asked.

The Tillis aide snapped back: “Sounds like something you're going to have to figure it out."

The senator’s office has since issued this apology, though it may be another ding in his re-election hopes: "The way Mrs Veals was talked to by a staff assistant in our Washington office was completely inappropriate and violates the code of conduct Senator Tillis has for his staff, which is why immediate disciplinary action has been taken."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in