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Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) speaking in August. Photo: Erin Schaff/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in a statement Friday said he "fell short of [his] own standard," by choosing not to wear a face mask at President Trump's Republican National Convention acceptance speech on Thursday night.

Why it matters: Former North Carolina state Sen. Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee to challenge Tillis for his seat in November, accused his opponent of hypocrisy for stressing the importance of wearing a mask, but foregoing any face covering during Trump's speech.

What they're saying: "Tillis apparently sets a different standard for himself. He was captured maskless in Washington Thursday surrounded by nearly 1,000 other people, most of whom were also not wearing masks or social distancing, after posting a photo to Twitter wearing a mask," the Cunningham campaign said on Friday.

  • "I've stressed the importance of mask wearing throughout this pandemic and have tried to lead by example on this issue, but last night I fell short of my own standard," Tillis said.
  • "The difference between Cal Cunningham and I is that I can accept responsibility for my actions, while he lies and makes excuses for his, like how he misused taxpayer dollars for his own personal gain and broke his promise not to raise taxes on hardworking North Carolinians."

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan wins re-election in Alaska

Sen. Dan Sullivan. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK.) on Wednesday won re-election against Al Gross, an independent running as a Democrat, AP reports.

Why it matters: With the Alaska race results in, Republicans now have a 49-48 hold on the Senate. Neither party can claim the majority until the January runoff elections in Georgia.

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

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