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Joy Reid Asks Black GOP Rep if He Was Nominated As Speaker Because of His Race — He Pushes Back

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MSNBC’s Joy Reid and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) debated whether his race played a role in being nominated for House speaker.

The MSNBC host noted on Tuesday Donalds has only served one term in Congress and asked, “What were your qualifications to be Speaker of the House?”

“I think my colleagues recognize my leadership, they’ve seen it in many leaps and bounds,” Donalds responded.

He noted he previously served as a state lawmaker and understands budgets.

As he spoke about his experience, Reid interjected to ask, “What is the job of speaker?”

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“The job of the Speaker of the House number one is to actually make sure the Congress is operating on time. It largely sets the agenda for the entire House of Representatives. It actually engages in negotiations with the Senate and the White House on major issues,” Donalds responded.

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Reid said, “You’re saying that you would be prepared after one term to do the job that Speaker Pelosi and others who were in leadership. You ran for leadership, and you lost that leadership race to a congresswoman who ended up being in leadership.”

Do you think Donalds was qualified to be speaker?

“But you believe that though you’ve never served in leadership, ever, and you’ve only served one term that you believe you were qualified,” she added.

She also claimed it appeared Republicans were looking for a “response” to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — who is Black.

“Because you’ve literally been there for one term,” she reiterated. “One of the things that… members have said is that they wanted to highlight the diversity of the conference. There are four African American members in the House caucus, the House Republican caucus, there are 56 members in the Democratic caucus, so it’s more diverse.”

Reid asked, “Do you not believe that the idea was to make a diversity statement by nominating you?”

“Well, actually, first, that was not the idea,” Donalds responded. “Because I was in the room when the people who chose to nominate me. That never came up.”

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He also stated there are “a lot of members” who believe in his ability to lead.

Donalds’ nomination was also criticized by Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who tweeted, “[For what it’s worth], [Donalds] is not a historic candidate for Speaker. He is a prop. Despite being Black, he supports a policy agenda intent on upholding and perpetuating white supremacy.”

“His name being in the mix is not progress—it’s pathetic,” she added.

Donalds told Fox News about Bush’s tweet, “Man, that sucked, man, to be honest with you.”

“I feel, you know, bad that she really put that out there. Because, you know, if you see a Black man rising, I mean, let the man rise, even if you don’t agree with him,” he added.

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