Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) called out Republicans for claiming to advance racial equality when they nominated Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) as Speaker of the House amid their infighting in the chamber, saying the party was using the Black lawmaker as a “prop.”
On Wednesday (January 4), GOP defectors who refuse to back Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for House Speaker threw their support behind Donalds, giving him 20 votes during the fourth and fifth rounds of voting.
As he nominated Donalds during the fourth ballot, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) referenced Martin Luther King Jr., saying Republicans “do not seek to judge people by the color of their skin but rather the content of their character.”
The nomination marked the first time in history that two Black candidates were up for the chamber’s top position. Democrats also backed Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), who leads their caucus.
However, Bush slammed the GOP for nominating a “historic candidate,” while doing little else to combat racism, the HuffPost reports.
“FWIW, @ByronDonalds is not a historic candidate for Speaker. He is a prop,” Bush tweeted on Wednesday. “Despite being Black, [Donalds] supports a policy agenda intent on upholding and perpetuating white supremacy.”
The Missouri Democrat expanded on her contentious take to HuffPost.
“My issue is not with Byron Donalds himself. My issue is not with him being Black. My issue is not with him being Republican. My issue is because he was not someone that they have been promoting for the last two years,” Bush said.
It’s unclear who the GOP will ultimately prop up as Speaker, but it’s very unlikely will job will fall on Donalds, who has only served one term in Congress. Bush further called out how Republicans spoke on Donalds’ character, upbringing, and past struggles while claiming to sincerely promote him as Speaker.
“It seems as if they’re using him as a prop, as a tool, not because they think that he’s great, that he’s done all of these things to lead them,” Bush said. “I don’t like that they’re using him that way. I don’t want them to use him that way. And I want him to understand: They’re only using you… don’t let them do that to you. Make them treat you with dignity and respect.”
“To hear Chip Roy stand up and say this is not about color … it absolutely 100% is because if you were nominating him on his worth and merit, I think none of us would have been surprised because we would have seen him do leadership things,” she added.
The congresswoman pushed back against conservative criticism of her comments.
“I’m glad they took offense because it shows their lack of knowledge. It shows how ignorant they are. I need them to read up and understand what white supremacy is, what it looks like, and what the patriarchal system looks like,” Bush added.
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