Harris blasts Rep. Byron Donalds for comments on Black families under Jim Crow

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Vice President Kamala Harris, in an interview published Monday, criticized a suggestion made last week by Republican Rep. Byron Donalds that Black families were “together” during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation.

Politico reports that the vice president called up the outlet to weigh in on former President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will pick a running mate at next month’s Republican convention. She mostly withheld comment on individual prospects, Politico said, though she did pointedly criticize Donalds, who is among those considered a potential running mate for Trump.

“It’s sadly yet another example of somebody out of Florida trying to erase or rewrite our true history,” Harris said, referring to the state’s interventions under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis into Black history curriculums. “I went to Florida last July to call out what they were trying to do to replace our history with lies. And apparently there’s a never ending flow of that coming out of that state.”

Donalds’ comments, which come as Trump’s campaign seeks to make inroads with non-White voters, were made at an event in Philadelphia with Texas Rep. Wesley Hunt, another Black Republican supporter of the former president.

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together,” Donalds said at the event last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative — because Black people have always been conservative-minded — but more Black people voted conservatively,” he said.

In the interview with Politico, the vice president contrasted the Biden administration’s position on abortion with those of the prospective GOP vice presidential nominees.

“Everyone on that list has supported a Trump abortion ban in their state or has called for a national ban. … In fact, many voted this week in the Senate against the right to contraception. That’s how far down the road they are,” said Harris, who has led the White House’s messaging campaign in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in 2022 to overturn the federal right to an abortion.

As vice president, Harris has previously waded into culture war issues, traveling to Florida last year to slam Florida Republicans after the state Board of Education revised standards for teaching Black history.

During the visit last July, Harris highlighted standards that, according to a document posted to the state’s Department of Education website, require instruction for middle schoolers to include “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

“We know the history. And let us not let these politicians who are trying to divide our country win” Harris said at the time. “They are creating these unnecessary debates. This is unnecessary to debate whether enslaved people benefited from slavery. Are you kidding me? Are we supposed to debate that?”

The vice president has often served as the administration’s messenger on an array of hot-button issues. Last month she was deployed to Jacksonville, Florida, just hours after a controversial ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect in the state, ratcheting up the Biden campaign’s message blaming Trump for strict abortion restrictions being adopted across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.

In April, she traveled to Tucson just days after a state Supreme Court ruling upholding a Civil War-era ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.

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