Political Notebook: Budd, McCrory criticize Biden as North Carolina lawmakers condemn Putin for invasion

Published 5:00 am Monday, February 28, 2022

SALISBURY — While federal North Carolina lawmakers have publicly condemned Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Rep. Ted Budd also has pinned blame on President Joe Biden.

Budd issued a statement calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which started last week and since produced economic sanctions from western countries, a “tragic situation.” He also took a shot at the sitting president.

“Some of the Biden administration’s first actions were crippling American pipelines and waiving President Trump’s sanctions on Russia’s pipelines,” Budd said in a statement made Thursday. “Putin saw that, sensed weakness, and now Russia is invading Ukraine. It’s a tragic situation. Projecting our strength both at home and abroad, as we did under President Trump, makes America, and the rest of the world, a safer place.”

Since then, Budd, who is running for U.S. Senate, has made appearances on Fox News and Newsmax to call for stronger actions against Putin, including cutting off Russia’s access to the global financial system. Meanwhile, Biden has since announced more aggressive sanctions against Russia and Belarus.

The Raleigh News and Observer reported last week that Budd’s voting history includes opposing past legislation for Russian energy sanctions, the banning of Russia from the G7 until it could respect the territorial boundaries of Ukraine and a measure calling on the U.S. Treasury to turn over documents related to Trump’s financial ties to Russia.

Budd has filed legislation to order an investigation into the extent of collusion between Russia and China in the Ukrainian invasion. He sits on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

Former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who’s competing for the open U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina, criticized Budd for his failure to stand up to Putin. But he also took a jab at the sitting president.

“Congressman Budd’s latest failure to stand up to Vladimir Putin should come as no surprise given his ‘friendly toward Russia’ voting record,” McCrory said. “Putin is a murderous, evil dictator bent on reinstating what President (Ronald) Reagan called the ‘Evil Empire,’ and Budd’s continued refusal to condemn praises for Putin makes it clear that he cannot represent the Republican Party in this U.S. Senate race. We already have a president that is too weak to stand up to Russia with sanctions that would have prevented this invasion, we don’t need a senator who will follow suit.”

Sen. Thom Tillis last week publicly praised Ukranian soldiers for “valiantly fighting to save their nation and their freedom.” He also commended Russian citizens for protesting “the fascist dictator who started this illegal war.”

“Many will face unspeakable danger because of a corrupt and paranoid dictator,” Tillis stated in a tweet. “We must support Ukraine with financial support and military equipment and we must severely punish Putin’s regime for starting war and spilling innocent blood.”

Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican who formerly chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee and won’t be seeking re-election in 2022, called Putin’s invasion an “unconscionable and unprovoked act of war against a sovereign democracy and its people.” He also said Putin alone bears the responsibility of the war.

“This aggression cannot go unanswered,” Burr said. “We must act quickly to enact the strictest possible sanctions against Putin, his corrupt regime, and its enablers, and the president is right to work with our allies in Europe and NATO to ensure a strong, unified response. America — and the world — must stand firm in support of the brave people of Ukraine, as they defend their nation against a dictator who has rejected every opportunity for peace and who bears full responsibility for this war.”

While neither the formal Republican or Democratic parties in Rowan County have issued official statements regarding the conflict, Republican Party Chair Elaine Hewitt shared a few words to the Republicans’ Facebook page last week.

“It is a sad day for our nation. We cannot ignore that Russia has begun an invasion into Ukraine,” Hewitt said. “An expanded war or dangerous surrender are two possibilities. A weak U.S. emboldens not only Russia, but also China and Iran.”

Rep. Harry Warren criticizes three-judge panel’s ruling on congressional map

N.C. Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican representing District 76, called the Superior Court panel’s decision to reject and replace the state’s congressional map a “travesty of Constitutional portions.”

On Feb. 23, a three-judge panel of Superior Court accepted both remedial state House and Senate maps submitted by state lawmakers, but accepted a different congressional map. The N.C. Supreme Court later upheld the panel’s ruling.

In his weekly newsletter published last week, Warren criticized the panel’s ruling for essentially delegating the redistricting process despite the state constitution placing that duty into the hands of state lawmakers.

“This open defiance of the state constitution effectively removed the will and voice of the people, through their elected representatives, to participate in the design and determination of their electoral districts,” Warren said. “That should concern everyone, regardless of individual political persuasion.”
The proper course of action, Warren says, would have been to again require the General Assembly to redraw the maps with more concise feedback on the issues judges had with the maps that had been submitted. He cited the compromise reached in the state House, where districts were approved by a vote of 115-5. The votes were mostly among party lines for both the state Senate and congressional maps.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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