Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) blasted a CNN anchor Thursday morning for suggesting that the Congressional Black Caucus is slow-walking his admission because, as a conservative, Donalds’ ideas are “incongruous” with the CBC’s mission.
As the Daily Wire reported Wednesday, Donalds believes the CBC — arguably the most powerful group of black legislators in Congress — is denying him entry because he is a Republican, even though he is a black legislator.
“It’s been six months since the members who won election in 2020 were inducted into the CBC, a powerful and nominally nonpartisan group of Black lawmakers in Congress,” BuzzFeed News reported, per the Daily Wire. “Donalds, who won election for the first time last year, has not been included in that group.”
Donalds, though, says he has applied for admission, and that while his record is limited, it is largely bipartisan. He came to Congress after serving as the sole black Republican in Florida’s House, where he was also part of that body’s own black caucus, and he specifically wanted to become involved in the CBC once being elected to federal office.
In an interview with CNN Wednesday morning, however, Donalds faced pushback from CNN over his application to the CBC.
Anchor Brianna Keilar referred directly to Donalds’ pitch to the CBC, asking him whether his support for former President Donald Trump was “incongruent” with the “mission” of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“Do you think your defense of a person who said things like that might be incongruent with the mission of the CBC?” Keilar asked, referring, apparently, to what she believes to be Trump’s lukewarm admonition of “white supremacist” supporters.
“First of all, what the president said in the past has nothing to do with this discussion at all,” Donalds fired back, rerouting the interview back to the issue at hand, the CBC.
“You’ve defended him,” Keilar fired back.
After chastizing Keilar for cutting him off mid-sentence, Donalds landed a blow.
“As a black man in America, I’m allowed to have my own thoughts on who I choose to support and who I choose not to support,” he said.
“I think that it’s important, whether you’re talking about the Congressional Black Caucus of the Florida state legislative Black Caucus or the National Caucus of State Black Legislators — organizations I have been a part of in the past — my support of President Donald Trump has been consistent but, at the same time, I’ve had the ability to advocate for issues, ideas, proposals and funding that have helped the black community in my state,” he continued.
“You’re talking to somebody who, my first three years in college was at Florida A&M, an HBCU, so whether my support for President Trump…whether it’s for or against is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with this discussion. This is whether the ideology of somebody who is conservative is welcome in the Congressional Black Caucus,” he said.
“It’s really that simple,” Donalds noted.
“And so to bring up President Trump to try to make this about him does not matter. It’s irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the situation at hand.”
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