Making sense of Republican Rep. Byron Donalds and his failed bid for House speaker

“While Byron may feel as if he’s their guy…I think they’re sending a clear message that he’s not,” said Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas.

Although Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida had his sights set on becoming the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, some House Democrats are not surprised he failed to secure a nomination from his party. 

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, told theGrio, “[House Republicans] do not respect people of color, whether they are migrants or whether we’re talking about our children that are being educated in this country.

Rep. Byron Donalds,
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 23: U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) arrives at a House Republican candidates forum where congressmen who are running for Speaker of the House will present their platforms in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 23, 2023 in Washington, DC. Members of the GOP conference will hear from the nine candidates who hope to succeed former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was ousted on October 4 in a move led by a small group of conservative members of his own party. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“So, while Byron may feel as if he’s their guy, that he’s one of them, I think they’re sending a clear message that he’s not,” she stated.

On Wednesday, Republicans elected Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana to become House speaker after a three-week-long quandary following the ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was removed as a result of misgivings from the party’s hard-right members.

Prior to his election, on Tuesday, House Republicans nominated Johnson with 128 votes to Donalds’ 29 in the last round of voting. Donalds withdrew from the race when he realized he did not have enough support.

Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., told theGrio that she believes Donalds failed to secure the nomination because he’s “only been in Congress for two sessions, and I don’t think we’re prepared to put someone who is quite the neophyte.”

She added, “I keep reminding people that you’re second in the line of succession to the president of the United States,” Clarke said in reference to the powerful House speaker role.

Crockett said she believes Donalds ran for House Speaker, not because he thought he had a chance but to gain notoriety.

“Those that are operating from the fringes, they all have their own individual agendas,” said the freshman congresswoman. “It’s not about the country. It’s not about the people. It’s not even about the party at this point. It’s all about their individual agendas.”

Suggesting Donalds may be plotting for higher office, she added, “Allegedly he and his aides are potentially looking at the gubernatorial mansion in Florida.”

As reported by Vanity Fair, Congressman Donalds may be contemplating a bid for the Florida governorship, particularly in the event that the Sunny State’s current governor and Republican presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, is elected to the White House in 2024.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during the second Republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on September 27, 2023. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Clarke told theGrio it was imperative that House Republicans elected a House speaker given what’s at stake for the country.

“They are the majority in the House of Representatives. It’s their responsibility to present leadership to the nation,” said Clarke, who cautioned that the country is headed into “financial instability.”

The congresswoman stressed the need for Congress to pass a budget to fund the government for the next fiscal year in order to “meet the needs of the people of the United States.”

Now that Johnson has been elected as House speaker, Congressional members are under pressure to pass a spending bill by Nov. 17 to avert a government shutdown

A shutdown, which Congress avoided on Oct. 1 with a continuing resolution, would have grave consequences for U.S. citizens who work for the federal government, including the military, and those who rely on federal programs like SNAP and WIC.

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