A black GOP lawmaker in the House of Representatives says the Congressional Black Caucus has declined his efforts to become a member.
In a statement to The Post on Thursday, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) expressed his disappointment about being excluded from the CBC, which inducted other freshman lawmakers into the group six months ago.
“The Congressional Black Caucus has a stated commitment to ensuring Black Americans have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” the 42-year-old lawmaker, who represents the Naples area, began.
“As a newly elected Black Member of Congress, my political party should not exempt me from a seat at the table dedicated to achieving this goal. As a young Black man who grew up in the inner city of Brooklyn in a single-parent household, my achieving of the American Dream would be a valued addition to the CBC and one that should transcend politics.”
A CBC spokesperson declined to answer The Post when asked about the claim that Donalds was rebuffed by the caucus, instead saying in a statement that the group “remains committed to fighting for issues that support the Black community, including the police accountability bill, protecting voting rights and a jobs bill that helps our communities.”
News of the CBC’s snub of Donalds was first reported Wednesday by Buzzfeed News, which cited a “source familiar with the CBC’s plans.”
The outlet reported that the congressman’s support for former President Trump, as well as his decision to challenge the 2020 presidential election results, played a role in the groups decision to exclude him.
In a CNN interview Thursday morning, Donalds called it “off-putting” that the news of his rejection came from the media, as opposed to hearing from the CBC directly.
“If my positions and my support of President Trump is a problem for them, let them state that on the record,” he argued to the network.
“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. Whether they want to take advantage of that is really up to them.”
While there have been black GOP lawmakers in the caucus before, the group currently has no Republicans.
Donalds’ spokesman Harrison Fields said Thursday that while the congressman has reached out to CBC members about joining multiple times, “all we’ve got is the cold shoulder.”
“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. 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,” Fields added.
Prior to even winning his seat in October of last year, Donalds told the Wall Street Journal he planned to join the CBC, as he hoped to work on criminal justice reform matters.
Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Ut.), the only other black GOP lawmaker in the House and a fellow freshman, opted not to try to join the caucus.
In February of this year, one month after being sworn in, Donalds made a public plea to be accepted into the group, telling Politico he wanted to help move the caucus away from its liberal leanings.
“Obviously, the dominant voice in the CBC tends to be Democrat or liberal voices, and I want to bring change to that,” he told the outlet.
“Yes, I’m a conservative Republican, 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.”
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), a CBC member, told The Journal at the time that while she didn’t understand minorities supporting Trump, any black member would be welcomed, calling previous GOP members “bridge builders.”