After being repeatedly nominated to block Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy from being elected Speaker of the House, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) had a simple reaction to fears he might be a target for revenge.
A man of his stature has nothing to fear, he said, according to a video circulated on social media.
Donalds was responding to a reporter outside the Capitol during the House of Representatives’ second fruitless day of voting to elect their Speaker.
“Are you worried about retribution after the fact?” the reporter asked. “There were threats that folks that weren’t going to vote for McCarthy would be kicked off committees. Now, you’ve put yourself in a pretty public position opposing the person that could be the Speaker. Are you worried about retribution?
“Man,” Donalds responded, “I’m 6’2, 275. I’m not worried about that.”
The House is now in its third day of attempting to elect a Speaker, which must be done before elected representatives can start working. McCarthy’s election had been long anticipated, but a small and stubborn group in his party has for three days withheld the votes he needs to win.
Most of their votes have gone to Donalds, a 44-year-old representative now in his second term. His website describes him as “everything the fake news media says doesn’t exist: a Trump supporting, liberty loving, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment black man.”
Donalds himself voted for McCarthy in the first two rounds, and in the third, he joined the Republican holdouts in supporting Rep. Jim Jordan, who asked not to be voted for. Donalds has voted for himself in all ballots since then, the New York Times’ tracking page said Thursday afternoon.
The situation now unfolding in the House marks the first time in a century that it’s taken multiple rounds of voting to elect the Speaker. The key position steers the agenda for the lower chamber of Congress and is third in the presidential line of succession.