Byron Donalds Professes Black People Were Better Off During The Jim Crow Era When ‘The Black Family Was Together’ 

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Republican Rep. Byron Donalds, a name on the shortlist of VP candidates for Donald Trump, received major backlash after suggesting Black families were more unified and better off during the Jim Crow era — a period riddled with racial segregation. 

Donalds made the alarming claims during a Black voter outreach event called “Congress, Cognac, and Cigars” on June 4 in Philadelphia with Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Tx.) While talking about his upbringing, the congressman from Florida claimed things have gotten worse for the Black community after embracing Democratic ideologies embedded by President Lyndon Johnson, including federal food stamps, housing, and welfare.

“During Jim Crow, the Black family was together. During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative – Black people have always been conservative minded – but more Black people voted conservatively,” he said. 

“What’s happened in America for the last ten years, you’re starting to see more Black people being married, in homes, raising kids. And then you look at the world, and you’re like, ‘Wait a minute, this does not look right.’” 

.@JoeBiden @RepJeffries @harrisonjaime & @DerrickNAACP are gaslighting Black America.

I was talking about Black families, conservative mindsets, and conservative voting.

Receipts are a beautiful thing! And don’t clip my words to keep lying. I’m watching pic.twitter.com/W2Fr5uAHE8

— Byron Donalds (@ByronDonalds) June 5, 2024

His comments received severe pushback from a number of prominent figures on social media, including NAACP President Derrick Johnson and chair of the Democratic National Committee Jaime Harrison, who Donalds tagged in his video. During an interview on CNN, Johnson said the congressman is seeking “self-benefit using a false narrative.”

“During Jim Crow, a majority of Black people who lived in the South couldn’t even participate and vote because of Jim Crow laws,” he said. 

“Here we are now, someone seeking to be a VP nominee, trying to capture national headlines tap dancing, so to speak, just so he can be considered.”

President of the NAACP on Byron Donalds pic.twitter.com/1ZlBKKNNBW

— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2024

Harrison jumped on Twitter to provide “receipts” for Donald, labeling President Johnson’s era as the “Great Society.”

“Johnson’s Great Society saw some of the largest advancements in civil rights for African Americans; Civil Rights Act of ‘64- banned discrimination in employment & accommodations; desegregation of schools, 24th amendment- prohibited poll taxes, Voting Rights Act of 1965…” he tweeted. 

“I know history is iffy for you and DeSantis down there in FL… but it is time to brush up. Y’all don’t do much in that GOP House anyway, so maybe walk over to the Library of Congress. They have a lot of comprehensive history books.”

However, Minority House Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) took his thoughts off of social media and onto the House floor. Jeffries called the comments “factually inaccurate.”

“That’s an outlandish, outrageous and out-of-pocket observation. We were not better off,” Jeffries said. 

“When a young boy named Emmitt Till could be brutally murdered without consequence because of Jim Crow, we were not better off when Black women could be secually assaulted without consequence because of Jim Crow, we were not better off…How dare you make such an ignorant observation. You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.” 

Rep. Byron Donalds made the ignorant observation that Black people were better off under Jim Crow.

Fact check. pic.twitter.com/YAiOeaVzPD

— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) June 5, 2024

The efforts to reach Black voters by Trump and GOP allies have been frowned upon by Democrats for a while. According to The Hill, Biden-Harris spokesperson Sarafina Chitika released a statement condemning the plan to mobilize Black voters.

“Donald 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,” Chitika said.

“From touting his mugshot to hawking fake sneakers, Trump and his campaign have shown Black Americans how little they think of us. Black voters are about to show Trump how little they think of him, his allies, and his racist agenda this November.”

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