Republicans against the selection of former minority leader Kevin McCarthy nominated Rep.-elect Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) to be House speaker Wednesday. U.S. Rep.-elect Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, nominated Donalds for Speaker ahead of the fourth vote in two days for the post, Florida Politics reported.
“Byron is a dear friend, a solid conservative but most importantly a family man who loves dearly his wife, Erica, his three children; has a proven track record as a businessman, public service in the Florida legislature and now as a member of the United States Congress,” Roy said.
For the first time in history, both major parties have nominated a Black American to lead the lower chamber of Congress. Democrats have nominated Rep.-elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
Who is Donalds?
Donalds is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-native who was elected to Congress in 2020 after Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) retired from Congress. Raised by a single mother alongside two siblings, Donalds graduated from Nazareth Regional High School in East Flatbush before heading to Florida A&M University and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and marketing from Florida State University in 2002.
He went on to work in the finance, insurance, and banking industries before entering politics. Two years after becoming a Republican and being involved in the Tea Party movement, he decided to seek a congressional seat for the first time in 2012 but failed. Four years later, he was elected to the Florida legislature. Donalds was the Florida state representative for the 80th district, which borders Hendry County and part of Collier County from 2016 to 2020. Since 2021, he has been serving as the U.S. representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district.
The 44-year-old was in the news recently for defending former president Donald Trump amid racism accusations against the latter. According to The Washington Post, Donalds has often criticized liberal lawmakers particularly the Congressional Black Caucus for its position on racial issues.
In 2020, Donalds became a participant in the “Freedom Force”, a group of incoming House Republicans who are “fighting against socialism in America”. Donalds was also one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the AUMF against Iraq in June 2021.
Donalds is married with three sons and they all live in Naples, Florida.