Rep. Byron Donalds Defends His Remarks On Jim Crow


Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida defended comments he made this week invoking Jim Crow — a period of racial violence and segregation — as an era when “the Black family was together.”

Donalds, often mentioned as a potential running mate for Donald Trump, faced backlash after stating at a campaign event in Philadelphia on Tuesday that fewer Black families were fractured during Jim Crow.

At the event aimed at outreach to Black voters in battleground Pennsylvania, Donalds, a Trump campaign surrogate, suggested that embracing Democratic policies has worsened circumstances for Black people. He referenced programs enacted by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, such as federal food stamps, housing, welfare, and Medicaid for low-income Americans.

When Joy Reid pointed out that the Jim Crow South was marked by restricted rights for Black people, including blocked access to voting, and called Donalds’ statements “inaccurate,” the Florida Republican responded, “No, I’m not being inaccurate.”

Donalds’ comments on Thursday echoed his previous defenses amid criticism from Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who decried Donalds’ remarks as “an outlandish, outrageous, and out-of-pocket observation.”

The Biden-Harris campaign responded by stating that Trump “spent his adult life, and then his presidency undermining the progress Black communities fought so hard for — so it actually tracks that his campaign’s ‘Black outreach’ is going to a white neighborhood and promising to take America back to Jim Crow.”

Donalds claimed on Wednesday that the Biden campaign was “lying” and “gaslighting” by suggesting he said Black people were doing better under Jim Crow.