Rep. Byron Donalds, one of only two Black Republicans in the House, says that he has been snubbed by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Donalds’ communications director Harrison Fields told Fox News that the Florida Republican has engaged with multiple members of the CBC, an influential and officially nonpartisan group, to tell them he’s interested in joining but still hasn’t gotten an invite. Other freshman lawmakers were inducted into the group six months ago.
“Since starting in Congress, our office and the Congressman have engaged with several CBC members expressing his interest in joining, but all we’ve got is the cold shoulder,” Fields said. “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.”
A source familiar with CBC’s plans confirmed Donalds’ suspicions that he’d been shut out of the group, according to Buzzfeed, which first reported the news.
The CBC could not immediately be reached for comment.
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The CBC has worked closely with the White House on matters like police reform and racial inequities.
The group does not have any Republican members – Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, has no interest in joining. Donalds has said he planned to join since the campaign trail, citing areas like criminal justice reform where he could work on bipartisan agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Rep. Robin Kelly, an Illinois Democrat and member of the CBC, told the Journal that she didn’t understand the candidates’ support of former President Trump, but that they would be welcomed into the group. That was before the Jan. 6 Capital riots engendered a bitter divide, and some Democrats swore off working with Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results.
Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate and a rising star of his party, declined an invitation to join the organization when he was appointed to the House in 2010.
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Former Rep. Mia Love, Utah, was the group’s last GOP member, who three years before she joined in 2015 said members of the group “sit there” and “ignite racism.”
The shutout draws parallels to that faced by former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., who was denied admission to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, after a bitter back-and-forth and a final vote among members to keep him out.
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