Black GOP Congressmen who joined the Trump coup must resign

OPINION: Republican House members Reps. Burgess Owens and Byron Donalds delegitimized the votes of Black Americans and desecrated the blood of our ancestors

Republican Donalds Owens
Reps. Byron Donalds and Burgess Owens (Credit: U.S. House of Representatives)

Two newly-elected Black Republican congressmen signed up in support of the attempted Trump coup and overturn the 2020 presidential election — now it is time for them to resign.

These men joined a conspiracy to delegitimize the votes of Black Americans and desecrated the blood of our ancestors. And their act of sedition resulted in the White supremacist siege on the Capitol.

Read More: Newly-elected Black Republicans among GOP opposition to Biden’s electoral win

The two House members are Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), the former NFL player with ties to the QAnon pro-Trump conspiracy cult, and Byron Donalds (R-FL), a Black conservative and former Tea Party activist. Prior to the U.S. Capitol siege, Owens and Donalds joined the more than 100 Republicans who announced they would reject the Electoral College votes of certain states that brought presidential victory to Vice President-elect Joe Biden.   

Owens, who calls himself the “anti-Colin Kaepernick” and labeled Black Lives Matter “a Marxist organization” comparable to the Ku Klux Klan, spoke at the Republican National Convention last year, praising Trump’s record on race.

Former NFL athlete and Utah congressional nominee Burgess Owens addresses the virtual convention on August 26, 2020. (Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

Owens tweeted that he was proud to join his GOP colleagues challenging Biden’s Electoral College certification. “This is not about ‘overturning an election’. This is about protecting the integrity of our elections,” he tweetedAlliance for a Better Utah, a Utah-based government watchdog group has called for Owens’ resignation.    

After calls for Donalds to resign following his objection to the Electoral College certification, the freshman lawmaker tweeted: “I don’t vote based on my skin; I do so in allegiance to our Constitution & to always follow the Rule of Law. Blue checkmarks live to delegitimize my right as a free Black man to act, think, & vote based on my convictions rather than skin color.”

Donalds and Owens participated in congressional insurrection, which we would expect from their white nationalist colleagues. But the act is particularly egregious when one considers they voted to erase the votes of millions of Black people in battleground states who exercised their solemn right of civic participation. Black folks were lynched, beaten, shot and maimed simply for the right to vote, for attempting to register to vote and demanding respect as human beings. Even today, Black Americans struggle against GOP voter suppression.

Read More: Stacey Abrams: Republicans ‘do not know how to win without voter suppression’

Moreover, these two Black congressmen have blood on their hands. Their seditious acts emboldened the White domestic terrorists who came to Washington armed with guns and bombs, stormed the Capitol, ransacked the place and sought to overthrow the government — killing five people, including a federal police officer, in the process.      

Black lawmakers in the Republican Party have come a long way since the days of Frederick Douglass, Senator Hiram Revels and Reps. Joseph Rainey, Robert Smalls and others who led the way for the race following slavery and emancipation.

It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious, but the caricatured behavior of these Black drum majors for white supremacy remind us of Uncle Ruckus of The Boondocks fame, and Dave Chappelle’s Clayton Bigsby character, the white hood-wearing, blind Black Klansman who thought he was white. Surely he would be would’ve been a MAGA lover too.

Considering the gravity of the situation and the damage that has been done, theGrio readers should call the offices of Rep. Burgess Owens at (202) 225-3011, and Rep. Byron Donalds at (202) 225-2536 and demand they resign immediately.

Because they need to go — yesterday.

Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove.    

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