A Black House Republican member is allegedly being blocked from joining the Congressional Black Caucus as one of only two Black Republicans in the House.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and his staff have reached out to members of the CBC multiple times but said “all we’ve got is the cold shoulder,” Donalds’ spokesperson Harrison Fields said in a statement to The Hill.
A source told BuzzFeed News that the caucus was blocking Donalds’ membership.
Donalds’ office said he believes he is being turned away from the group due to his political party.
“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.
A spokesperson for the CBC did not respond directly to the allegation that the caucus is blocking Donalds from joining but told The Hill in a statement 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.”
“We will work with those who share our values and priorities for the constituents we serve,” the spokesperson added.
Donalds’ office pointed to his bipartisan efforts in Congress and willingness to engage with the caucus. Fields said Donalds had joined the Black Caucus in Florida when he served in the state House and that his “intention as a U.S. Congressman is the same.”
BuzzFeed reported that Donalds has spoken to three CBC members since but that he has not been told if he would be likely to join.
The CBC currently has no Republican members but Black GOP lawmakers have joined in the past. The only other Black Republican House member, Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) said before he won election that he did not plan to join.
Updated at 8:58 p.m.