Freshman Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) has been blocked from joining the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), according to a report.
The caucus has been blocking the Black Republican from membership, according to a source familiar with the CBC’s plan who told BuzzFeed News.
BuzzFeed noted that it had been nearly six months since the new freshman class from the previous election were inducted into the caucus, adding that the group is a “powerful and nominally nonpartisan group of Black lawmakers in Congress.”
Though there is not currently a Republican member in the group, according to their official website. Donalds, who won his election in November for the first time, has not been included in that group.
Donalds’ office told BuzzFeed that the congressman has spoken with at least three members of the group about joining, but he has not received an answer, and joining nearly a quarter way into the 117th Congress looks slim.
An aide to Donalds said, “Congressman Donalds has expressed interest in joining the CBC but has yet to receive an official invitation.”
“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,” the said added.
Donalds told Politico in February, he wanted to join in order to change the caucus’ liberal dominance. His goals were to have membership in both the majority Democrat’s Congressional Black Caucus and the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Politico reported, Donalds said that both groups are a natural fit for him.
This shows the divide growing further in Congress between members of both parties since January. Donalds was one of the many Republicans that voted against certifying the electoral college.
BuzzFeed reports, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) had declined an invitation from the group in 2010 when he was first elected to Congress as a member of the House. When he became a “Rep.-elect,” he said he would not be joining since his “campaign was never about race.”
Former Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) in 2012 said she wanted to dismantle the caucus since she claimed they “ignite racism.” In 2015 she ended us joining the group of Black lawmakers. Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) who now represents Love’s old seat, told the Wall Street Journal before winning that he did not have plans to join the CBC.
The report added that it is awkward for the leaders of the Tri-Caucus when a Republican looks to want to join one of them, noting that Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s (CHC) bylaws exclude non-Democrats. In 2017 the group denied membership to former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). The same rules are still in play.
A spokesperson for the CHC told BuzzFeed, “Per Congressional Hispanic Caucus bylaws, all Democratic Members of Congress of Hispanic descent are eligible for CHC membership.”