Florida Rep. and Black Republican Byron Donalds Nominated For House Speaker Amid GOP Turmoil

Florida Rep. Byron Donalds made history Wednesday when 20 Republicans opposing Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for House Speaker nominated him for the post.

The New York Times reports when Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) nominated Donalds for House Speaker during the fourth vote for the post on Wednesday; he acknowledged it was the first time two Black candidates have been nominated along with Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jefferies (D-N.Y.), who became the first Black person to lead the Democratic House Caucus.

Donalds, who is still waiting to be sworn in as a second-term House Member, has been a financial adviser at Wells Fargo since 2015. The Brooklyn-born native was elected to the Florida House in 2016 and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020 when he ran as an ally of former President Donald Trump. Donalds was also one of the 147 Republicans who voted to reject the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.

While Donalds received the 20 votes needed by McCarthy two days into the voting for House Speaker, his chances of actually being voted into the post are slim to none. Even Roy, who nominated Donalds, largely dismissed the historic stance behind his nomination.

“We do not seek to judge people by the color of their skin, but rather the content of their character,” Roy said, according to the Times. “Byron Donalds is a good man raised by a single mom who moved past adversity, became a Christian man at the age of 21 and has devoted his life to advancing the cause for his family and his country.”

Trump also largely dismissed Donalds’ nomination calling him a young man with a great future, but adding, “He will have his day, and it will be a big one, but not now,” according to the Washington Examiner.

In an interview with the Times last year, the Black Republican defended the GOP effort to pass voting restrictions in Republican-led states and added that he did not believe that Trump’s words after losing the 2020 Presidential Election led to the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot.

Donalds supported McCarthy during the first two votes for House Speaker but switched his vote to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) during the third vote.

“Right now, he doesn’t have a pathway to get there,” Donalds told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins after voting against McCarthy Tuesday. “If that reemerges, yeah, I can be there, that’s fine, but what’s necessary now is that Republicans come together and find a way to elect a speaker.”