Rep. Byron Donalds defended his rights as a black man to a white CNN anchor who seemed to suggest that his political views made him unqualified to be in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Donalds said he has expressed interest in being a member of the CBC but has yet to receive an invitation.
Brianna Keilar, CNN’s “New Day” anchor, implied Donalds’ exclusion from the CBC could be a result of his support for former President Trump which she said is “incongruent with the mission of the CBC.”
“As a black man in America I’m allowed to have my own thoughts about who I choose to support and who I choose not to support,” Donalds fired back. “My support of President 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.”
Donalds said using his support for Trump as a reason for not be welcomed to the CBC was just a red herring.
“This is whether the ideology of somebody who is conservative is welcome to the Congressional Black Caucus,” Donalds said. “It’s really that simple. So to bring up President Trump and try to make this about him does not matter, it’s irrelevant, it has nothing to do with the situation at hand.”
Keilar: Your ideas are “incongruous” with their “mission"
Donalds: "As a black man in America, I’m allowed to have my own thoughts" pic.twitter.com/vN9j4KXpNh
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 10, 2021
“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,” Harrison Fields, Donald’s communications director, told Fox News. “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.”
Donalds told The Federalist his party affiliation should not exclude him from a group whose intent is to fight for black Americans.
“The Congressional Black Caucus has a stated commitment to ensuring black Americans have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” 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,” he added.
The CBC, which says it “has a long history of bipartisan collaboration and members who are both Democrat and Republican” does not currently have any Republican members.