The Congressional Black Caucus has denied entry to a black congressman because he’s a Republican, according to a BuzzFeed News report.
New members who were sworn into office at the start of the year were inducted into the group of black lawmakers months ago, but Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) was not invited.
The Florida representative’s office said Donalds has talked to at least three members of the CBC about joining the group, whose members are now at the forefront of police reform talks and responsible for highlighting the racial inequities around COVID-19. He’s not received an answer and the likelihood of that happening a quarter way into the 117th Congress looks bleak.
“Congressman Donalds has expressed interest in joining the CBC, but has yet to receive an official invitation,” said a Donalds aide. “If given, he’d gladly accept.” The CBC did not respond to questions about the status of Donalds’ membership, or why he was not being let in. (BuzzFeed News)
“While the CBC has predominately been made up of members of the Democratic Party, the founding members of the caucus envisioned a non-partisan organization,” the CBC’s website states. “Consequently, the CBC has a long history of bipartisan collaboration and members who are both Democrat and Republican.”
There are no Republicans currently in the group, but the CBC extended an invitation to Sen. Tim Scott in 2010 when he was elected as a U.S. representative. He declined to join, but former Rep. Mia Love, despite initial objections to the group, did become a member in 2015.
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The alleged refusal to extend an invitation to Donalds may go back to Jan. 6, according to BuzzFeed, as Donalds was among the Republicans who objected to the certification of the Electoral College count.
A spokesperson for the CBC would not respond to whether the group is blocking Donalds, but told The Hill in a statement they are “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.”
“We will work with those who share our values and priorities for the constituents we serve,” the spokesperson added.