President Trump on Friday tore into a court’s ruling this week that struck down the state’s GOP-drawn redistricting map as an unconstitutional gerrymander, suggesting that “there has to be something going on.”
“How unfair is that?” Trump said during a speech at a GOP fundraising event in Charlotte, N.C., attended by several Republican members of Congress, according to White House pool reports.
“No, it’s very unfair to have an election in less than 60 days and they change the district on you? And you’ve already won primaries? How does that work?” Trump continued.
“You’ve all gone through primaries — or some of you have — and it’s been districted for years, and now you have to redraw lines to have a new district? Even though you won a primary in another district? I don’t know. There has to be something going on.”
Trump’s comments came after a three-judge panel in North Carolina on Monday struck down the state’s GOP-drawn map for the second time this year, saying Republicans had redrawn the map to unconstitutionally favor their party.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina reached the same conclusion in January, with the case eventually making its way to the Supreme Court. Justices on the high court sent the case back down to the lower court to examine whether plaintiffs had standing to sue.
Judge James Wynn said partisan gerrymanders “raise the specter that the Government may effectively drive certain ideas or viewpoints from the marketplace” because they “intentionally seek to entrench a favored party in power and make it difficult — if not impossible — for candidates of parties supporting disfavored viewpoints to prevail.”
“That is precisely what the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly sought to do here,” he wrote in the majority opinion, which Judge William Earl Britt joined.
Trump’s comments Friday came as he addressed a crowd of about 300 people at a country club in Charlotte on behalf of North Carolina GOP Reps. Ted Budd and Mark Harris, according to The Associated Press. The National Republican Congressional Committee said the event was expected to raise $750,000, the AP reported.
The GOP fundraiser was attended by multiple North Carolina Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Virginia Foxx, Mark Meadows, Richard Hudsonand Patrick McHenry along with Harris and Budd, according to the White House. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) also attended.
The federal judges in North Carolina have floated the possibility of drawing new congressional maps by mid-September, weeks before the November midterms, though Republicans have objected to such a plan.
GOP lawmakers have warned of “unmitigated chaos” and “irreparable voter confusion” in North Carolina after the court’s ruling Monday, saying they will appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the federal ruling.
BY JESSE BYRNES – 08/31/18