Bishop nominates Florida colleague during ongoing U.S. House speaker battle

U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop of N.C. on U.S. House floor Jan. 5.

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  • U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina nominated a Florida colleague, Rep. Byron Donalds, to serve as the next U.S. House speaker.
  • Bishop says he and his colleagues are conducting the "people's business" and will "go to the mat for the American people" once a speaker is selected.

North Carolina’s Eighth District congressman attracted a national spotlight Thursday afternoon, nominating a Florida colleague to serve as the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-8th District, spoke just before the seventh vote for a speaker. That vote took place on the third day of voting on Capitol Hill. Bishop nominated Rep. Byron Donalds, a second-term U.S. representative from Florida. Donalds emerged during the fourth vote Wednesday as an alternative to the Republican front-runner, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California.

Donalds secured 19 votes after Bishop’s nomination, enough to prevent McCarthy from securing the 218 votes needed to secure the speaker’s job. The House will need at least an eighth vote to select a speaker.

Bishop disputed the notion that Donalds, who is black, had been nominated as a prop. “I’ve spent a good bit of time with Mr. Donalds, especially lately,” Bishop said near the beginning of his seven-minute speech. “He ain’t no prop.”

“This is the tired, old, grotesquely racist rhetoric that we’ve seen far too long,” Bishop said.

Bishop also rebutted reports about his own approach to the speaker’s election.

“Today, a member-elect quote-tweeted a Fox News story that incorrectly reported that I said that if I don’t prevail on the question before the House, I will resign,” Bishop said. “That member-elect quote-tweeted that incorrect story for his own political purposes, after the story had been corrected and the actual statement contradicting that report had been provided.”

“This is the old trafficking in lies from Washington that the American people know far too well,” he added. “By the way, I’m not leaving.”

Bishop is the only one of North Carolina’s seven Republican House members who has not voted for McCarthy during the speaker battle. Yet he praised McCarthy for releasing a Dec. 31 document titled “Restoring the People’s House and Ending Business as Usual.”

“To his great credit, Mr. McCarthy made a statement of huge significance to the country,” Bishop said. “The nominal leader of a major party acknowledged publicly that this institution is broken, and he committed to make change to fix it.”

“We are doing the people’s business,” Bishop said. “That’s what these three days have been about. … We are committed to make change to the institution that has lost its way.”

“It is epitomized in the $1.7 trillion omnibus rammed through this institution just two weeks ago,” Bishop said of the previous Congress’ final spending bill. “I came to fix this broken system. America has seen that problem for a very long time, too.”

“The commitment to change it is new,” he added. “The genesis of the prospect of changing it emerges from this moment.”

“America needs men and women of courage to do something new in Congress so that Congress can serve the American people,” Bishop said.

Bishop next focused on his nominee. “I know Byron. He’s not a prop. He’s a man of personal conviction,” Bishop said. “He arrived at his convictions through authentic and genuine life experience.”

“People ask me, ‘What is the end game? How does this end?’ The answer to this question is that this is a dynamic process.”

“We will resolve the people’s business,” Bishop said. “And when we do, we will go to the mat for the American people because we will be led by people of conviction, like the gentleman from Florida, Byron Donalds.”