As Black History Month ends next week, The Hill hosts the Race and Justice Imperative. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) is featured as a speaker for the event, discussing Republican outreach to Black voters and their approach to the intersection of race and justice.
Host Cheyanne McDaniels opened on the importance of Rep. Donalds' and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries' (D-NY) historic nomination for Speaker of the House in January.
"Being able to be part of that was profound," said Rep. Donalds, adding it was "a little surreal at first." Nonetheless, he appreciated what the experience meant and reflected on the moment with Rep. Jeffries afterward, especially as "two Black men from Brooklyn."
"It was special, and I think it should never be discounted, or just overlooked," added Donalds.
Despite a brief signal disruption, Donalds and McDaniels are able to discuss Republican outreach to Black voters.
"This is where I'm critical of Republicans," stated Donalds, adding that "the Republican Party, historically, really hasn't done much of anything to try to court Black voters."
More specifically, while Republicans may speak about their platforms, "they don't take the time to go into communities and say, 'hey, let's build a relationship.'"
However, Donalds does note that this is changing for the better.
"The Democrat Party has consistently sought Black votes for a very long time, the Republican Party hasn't done that work. That's something that's changing, and something I advocate for every single day, and that's going to continue to evolve if I have anything to say about it," said Donalds.
Moving on to racial justice, Donalds reiterates that Republicans want to support law enforcement to provide safe communities, yet justice is meted out equally.
"That's where House Republicans are, that's where Republicans are in general, and we're committed to that work," he summates.
At the same time, Donalds notes that police reform is primarily at the state and local level, not the Federal.
"It's important for everybody to understand that if you want to have that direct action, it starts at the local level primarily," concludes Donalds.