A black Republican state lawmaker in Virginia is venting his frustration after being denied membership in the state’s black caucus because he’s not a left-wing liberal.
In an interview with Fox News, State Del. A.C. Cordoza said the denial was akin to a “spit in the face” because it left him feeling like the organization sees him as “not black enough.”
“It really did offend me,” he said. “It was a spit in the face. This says to me that I’m not Black enough to be in the Black Caucus, and that’s an insult.”
“Defining what Black is by these liberal criteria is frankly wrong and disgusting,” Cordoza, an Air Force vet, said, adding that he wants to join the group to add a conservative voice to an organization that is traditionally far-left.
“I wanted to represent all African-Americans, not just liberal ones,” he told Fox News. “I wanted a seat at the table.”
When he applied to join, he was asked to fill out a questionnaire listing his legislative priorities. The last question asked him if he opposed any of the legislative priorities listed on the Black Caucus’ 2022 agenda, and he listed 32 items.
“I thought they would want to know why I didn’t agree with it,” Cordoza told Fox News. “I didn’t think we would agree on everything, but I thought they would let me in so they would want to hear my voice.”
But they didn’t. And they did not allow him to join, either. So now he is considering forming his own legislative caucus.
“It might be a caucus of one,” he said. “But it will be a caucus when new members come that’s going to welcome all African Americans, regardless of their views, because we want the African American voices to be heard, not just one singular voice rejecting all other Black voices.
“We want a full picture of what it is to be an African American, whether we agree or disagree,” Cordoza continued. “We need to come together and say, ‘this is who we are.’”
He’s not the only black conservative to be denied membership in a similar organization. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said last summer the Congressional Black Caucus, which has no GOP members, would not let him join, either.
“Since starting in Congress, our office and the Congressman have engaged with several CBC members expressing his interest in joining, but all we’ve got is the cold shoulder,” Donalds’ communications director Harrison Fields told Fox News in June.
“The sad reality is although the Congressman and those in the CBC share the same race, the (R) behind his name disqualifies him from membership today,” Fields added.
Fox News adds:
The group does not have any Republican members – Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, has no interest in joining. Donalds has said he planned to join since the campaign trail, citing areas like criminal justice reform where he could work on bipartisan agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Rep. Robin Kelly, an Illinois Democrat and member of the CBC, told the Journal that she didn’t understand the candidates’ support of former President Trump, but that they would be welcomed into the group. That was before the Jan. 6 Capital riots engendered a bitter divide, and some Democrats swore off working with Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results.
When he was appointed to the U.S. House in 2010, now-Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) declined an invitation from the CBC to join.
Former Rep. Mia Love of Utah was the CBC’s last GOP member; three years before she joined in 2015 said members of the group merely “sit there” and “ignite racism.”