Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and his staff have reached out to members of the CBC several times, but “all we’ve got is the cold shoulder,” according to Donalds’s spokesman, Harrison Fields.
“Congressman Donalds has expressed interest in joining the CBC, but has yet to receive an official invitation,” another Donalds aide said. “If given, he’d gladly accept.”
Donalds’ office said he believes he is being turned away from the CBC because he is a Republican.
“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 said.
One source confirmed that the CBC is intentionally blocking his membership.
The source said the group “remains 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” when asked directly whether the accusations of discrimination were true.
“We will work with those who share our values and priorities for the constituents we serve,” the CBC added.
Donalds previously said he would like to join the CBC so that he could work on bipartisan legislation that would benefit the black community, such as criminal-justice reform.
However, he made it clear he would not compromise his values.
“I didn’t get into politics to get into the mold of what a black person is supposed to be in politics,” he said back in October.
There are no Republican members in the CBC currently. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only black Republican in the Senate, declined an invitation to join the group when he was first elected to the House. And Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, said last year that he has no plans to join the CBC.