Black GOP lawmaker accuses Congressional Black Caucus of blocking membership

"In the Black community, we have a wide range of political thought," Rep. Byron Donalds said. "It doesn't always get talked about, but it exists."

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The Congressional Black Caucus is being accused of blocking the membership of a Black representative on Capitol Hill.

Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and his staff have made overtures to the CBC but have apparently been rebuffed, The Hill reported Thursday. The freshman Republican congressman told the outlet “all we’ve got is the cold shoulder” because of his political beliefs.

The CBC currently has no GOP members.

Byron Donalds thegrio.com
Republican Florida Rep. Byron Donalds is reportedly being blocked from joining the Congressional Black Caucus, despite his efforts. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

“The sad reality is although the Congressman and those in the CBC share the same race, the (R) behind his name disqualifies him from membership today,” Harrison Fields, a spokesperson, said in a statement.

An aide to Donalds told Buzzfeed he would be more than happy to join if an invitation was extended. The aide added that his office has spoken to three members of the CBC, but nothing has resulted.

“Congressman Donalds has expressed interest in joining the CBC but has yet to receive an official invitation,” said his aide. “If given, he’d gladly accept.”

CBC officials did not respond to inquiries as to why Donalds’ membership interest was apparently not being approved or if it would be considered during the 117th session of Congress.

Donalds, 44, was sworn into office in January, a few days before the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill, in which supporters of former President Donald Trump attempted to stop the certification of November’s presidential election results. Donalds even shared on social media a video of him entering the Capitol to carry out his objection.

“I’m walking into the Capitol to sign the objection to the Electoral College certification,” he tweeted in January. “It’s important we always uphold our laws and our Constitution, no matter what.”

Donalds voted not to certify President Joe Biden’s win, then voted against impeaching Trump again — his second time — for inciting the riot.

Six months later, the tensions of that deadly day remain ever present. Democrats and members of the CBC were in favor of holding Trump accountable and previously chose not to visit the White House while he was president.

Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the upper chamber, chose not to join the CBC in 2010 when he was elected to Congress. Donalds, upon joining Congress, told Politico he wanted to be a part of the group to change its liberal ideological bent.

“Obviously, the dominant voice in the CBC tends to be Democrat or liberal voices, and I want to bring change to that,” Donalds said.

“Yes, I’m a conservative Republican,” he maintained, “but I think in the Black community, we have a wide range of political thought. It doesn’t always get talked about, but it exists.”

Donalds claimed that unlike former Rep. Mia Love of Utah — who expressed a desire to destabilize the CBC from the inside because they “ignite racism” — the CBC would know what they are getting with him.

“I told them, ‘Listen, I’m a conservative,” he said back in February. “It will be very clear where I am on these issues.”

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