Rep. Bishop to Newsmax: Biden’s Puerto Rico Trip Had ‘Political Overtones’

Rep. Bishop to Newsmax: Biden's Puerto Rico Trip Had 'Political Overtones' (Newsmax/"John Bachman Now")

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 04 October 2022 02:59 PM EDT

President Joe Biden's decision to visit Puerto Rico first rather than hurricane-slammed Florida had "political overtones" and his approach to emergency matters is "regrettable," Rep. Dan Bishop said on Newsmax Tuesday.

"Biden's approach to things like this is so regrettable, even the decision to go to Puerto Rico first has political overtones," said the North Carolina Republican on Newsmax's "John Bachman Now." "His comments there reinforce his unfortunate image as a purely political animal, and it's kind of pathetic, too, but most of all that divides Americans, one against the other at the worst time."

Biden's comments in Puerto Rico have come under fire from critics after he told an audience that he was "raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically," and Bishop called such comments "pathetic."

"Florida is the focal point in the minds of all Americans for the damage," said Bishop. "We, of course, are concerned about Puerto Rico as well but I certainly think the best thing the president can do is go to Florida."

North Carolina, which also suffered damages from Hurricane Ian, is still recovering from localized flooding, and thousands remain without power from the storm, which killed five people in the state, Bishop said.

"It was a multistate affair," the North Carolina Republican told Newsmax's "John Bachman Now." "Florida, I think, is where everyone's focus is and the damage was worse there. In North Carolina, we had some localized flooding, but we emerged relatively unscathed. We did have those five deaths and we regret every one of them. It was a doozy of a storm, and there's a lot of work to be done."

Bishop also on Tuesday commented on the Supreme Court's upcoming hearings on the Case of Moore v. North Carolina, after The New York Times reported that case challenges the independent state legislature rule which holds that legislatures, not courts or secretaries of state, hold the final say over the rules of federal elections.

The rule came into play in arguments by former President Donald Trump's campaign, which held that changes such as ballot boxes and voting times enacted by state officials, were not legal because they didn't come from state legislatures.

"It is an extremely important case, but The New York Times and The Washington Post are not giving you the straight scoop," Bishop said. "Even the phrase they use, that it's testing the independent state legislature theory, that's sort of a subtle smear. What it does is, it goes to this issue that the United States Constitution says that the time-placing management manner for regulating elections will be determined in the states, 'by the legislatures thereof.'"

What the case stands for, Bishop said, is that in North Carolina, "we have a sharply partisan majority on the court."

"The four Democrats struck the legislature's plans down entirely, and they didn't do it based on some discreet language in our state constitution, they just did it on their policy preference grounds," said Bishop. "They had no such language, and so what, three of the justices said in a preliminary step here was the question is the extent of a court of power to strike down legislatures decisions about districting. It is fundamental to our democracy that the Constitution be honored as it's written that legislatures make those decisions."

The court in North Carolina could not strip the legislature of its authority and then allow the courts to draw elections maps, he added.

"It is the legislators who are more directly answerable to their constituents and why these things have got to be decided in a state legislature regardless of whether they are Democrat or Republican," said Bishop. "It is the responsibility of the states and the legislatures."


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