Rep. Byron Donalds Defends Jim Crow Comments

representative Byron Donalds of Florida defended Thursday comments he made this week who invoked Jim Crow – a time of racial violence and segregation – as a time when “the black family was together.”

“I never said Jim Crow was better for black people,” Donalds, a Republican from Florida, told MSNBC. Joy Reid during an interview with “The ReidOut” Thursday evening.

These comments follow Donalds, who is sometimes mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate for Donald Trump, sparked outrage after he said Tuesday at a campaign event in Philadelphia for the former president that fewer black families were fractured during Jim Crow.

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., speaks at the Black Conservative Federation’s annual BCF Honors Gala in Columbia, South Carolina, February 23, 2024. (Andrew Harnik/AP file)

“Don’t try to impose the fact that marriage rates were better back then – higher and higher, I want to be clear – during the Jim Crow era to mean that I think Jim Crow is awesome,” Donalds said. is a lie. This is gaslighting. I would never say such a thing.”

At Tuesday’s event aimed at outreach to black voters in battleground Pennsylvania, Donalds, a Trump campaign surrogate, suggested that by embracing Democrats, the situation for blacks had gotten worse. He pointed to programs enacted by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, which included the expansion of federal food stamps, housing, welfare and Medicaid for low-income Americans.

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together. During Jim Crow, more black people were not only conservative — black people have always been conservative — but more black people voted conservatively,” Donalds told the audience Tuesday.

When Reid pointed out that the Jim Crow South was marked by restricted rights for blacks, such as blocked access to voting, and said Donalds was “inaccurate,” the Florida Republican responded, “No, I don’t I’m not inaccurate.”

“All I talked about was black families,” Donalds said.

Donalds’ comments Thursday echo his previous defenses amid criticism from Democrats, including from members of the Congressional Black Caucus and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who decried Donalds’ remarks as being “extravagant, scandalous and out of the ordinary”. pocket observation.”

The Biden-Harris campaign also said in response to comments that Trump “spent his adult life and then his presidency undermining the progress that black communities fought so hard for — so he actually shows that his campaign’s “black outreach” goes to a white person. neighborhood and promising to return America to Jim Crow.

Donalds said Wednesday that the Biden campaign was a “lie” and “gaslighting” because “they’re trying to say I said black people were better off under Jim Crow.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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