Florida Rep. Byron Donalds appeared on CNN on Thursday to discuss his frustration with the Congressional Black Caucus over being denied membership due to his political beliefs.
During the interview with CNN anchor Brianna Keilar, Rep. Donalds expressed that the organization intentionally prevented him from entering the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) without clearly indicating why.
“I know what it is to actually have to grow up, coming out of the inner city, in today’s America, because I’ve done it,” he told Keilar.
The majority of the CBC has traditionally been Democrats and has made zero effort to include Black Republicans in the past. There are no African American GOP members of Congress currently in the CBC.
“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.”
The conversation quickly took a turn off the tracks after the CNN anchor, Keilar, then decided to add her perspective in rebuttal to Donalds’ comments. Keilar insinuated that the reason Donalds’ CBC application may have been rejected is because of his support of a voting rights bill that she falsely claims would restrict minority voters may be “incongruent” with the CBC’s mission. Keilar also reminds Donalds he “defended” former President Donald Trump.
Keilar, including several of her colleagues, have continuously used the tactic of pandering when confronting GOP elected officials and especially challenging African American members. Donalds, in complete dismay of the anchor’s lack of respect, fired back at her, saying, “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 responded, after criticizing Keilar for cutting him off mid-answer.
Donalds said his opinion of former President Trump and his chosen political party is “irrelevant” to the debate over his relationship with the CBC.
His fiery response instantly gained gratification amongst the conservative and liberal community. Many pointed out the irony of the situation and how she used her own political beliefs to belittle Donalds’ accomplishments and the efforts he has made within his community.
In a follow-up statement issued Thursday, Donalds said, “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.” according to Fox News.