Story at a glance
- A Black Republican lawmaker has suggested he is being excluded from membership in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) due to his political ideology.
- Byron Donalds, a first-year congressman, told NBC News on Thursday that “as a newly elected Black member of Congress,” his political party should not serve as an adequate cause to prohibit him “from a seat at the table.”
- "We will work with those who share our values and priorities for the constituents we serve,” a spokesperson for the Congressional Black Caucus told NBC.
A Black Republican lawmaker has suggested he is being excluded from membership in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) due to his political ideology.
Rep. Byron Donalds, a first-year congressman, told NBC News on Thursday that “as a newly elected Black member of Congress,” his political party should not serve as an adequate cause to prohibit him “from a seat at the table dedicated to achieving this goal,” which targets giving Black Americans the chance to “achieve the American dream.”
A report from Buzzfeed News pointed to Donalds’s vote not to certify President Biden’s November election victory as a contributing factor in the alleged snubbing.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the CBC responded to NBC’s request for comments regarding the insinuation that Donalds was intentionally excluded from membership, stating that it will work with those whose values and purpose align with their own.
“The Congressional Black Caucus remains committed to fighting for issues that support Black communities, including the police accountability bill, protecting voting rights, and a jobs bill that helps our communities," the spokesperson told NBC. "We will work with those who share our values and priorities for the constituents we serve.”
Donalds, whose membership would bring the group's total to 56, previously told CNN a diversity in political ideology could benefit the caucus. There are currently no GOP members in the CBC. Yet prominent Republican Sen. Tim Scott declined the group’s invitation when elected to the House in 2010. Fellow first-year representative Burgess Owens said he did not intend to join the caucus.
“I have a perspective being a 42-year-old Black man who’s come up in America after a lot of the battles through the civil rights movement that I think would actually be helpful and a helpful perspective to the CBC,” Donalds said. “Whether they want to take advantage of that is really up to them.”
Donalds argued his belief that the issue at hand is “whether the ideology of somebody who is conservative is welcome in the Congressional Black Caucus.”
Speaking with Fox News's Laura Ingraham, Donalds said he understands certain views he holds will be disagreeable to some members in the group. But he said there might be value in engaging in productive dialogue.
"To me, we're all members of Congress. We go on TV shows all the time. We debate each other in committees and on the House floor, so I don't see why we just can't have this conversation just in front of each other and then we go from there and part our ways if that's what the decision is," Donalds said.
"I think it's more a matter of they're accustomed to the way they do things in the CBC,” he continued. “I don't know if I cause a problem for them or not, but it's really about all of Black America and all of America being exposed to all ideas and ideologies across the political spectrum, not just one."
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