Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) made it clear on Wednesday that he does not fear reprisals for blocking Rep. Keven McCarthy's House speakership bid.
What is the background?
A faction of approximately 20 conservative Republicans are blocking McCarthy from becoming speaker. They say that electing him will empower the status quo that many Americans detest.
Initially, Donalds supported McCarthy. But on Tuesday — as the House voted on the third ballot of the day — Donalds broke from McCarthy. By Wednesday, the faction of anti-McCarthy Republicans were supporting Donalds for the speakership. On the fourth, fifth, and sixth ballots, Donalds earned 20 votes.
What is Donalds saying?
A reporter asked Donalds on Wednesday if he is worried about "retribution" from his own party for not backing McCarthy and becoming one of the main voices opposing the Republican leader.
"You've put yourself in a pretty public position opposing the person that could be the speaker. Are you worried about retribution?" the reporter asked.
Donalds' response — which has garnered more than 1.5 million views — made it clear his conscience is worry-free.
"Man, I'm 6'2", 275 [pounds] — I'm not worried about that," he said.
Donalds defended his opposition to McCarthy on Wednesday as a "good thing" for the Republican Party and America.
"These leadership challenges are a good thing for our party, and they're actually a good thing for America. The days of just power by acclamation, those days are over. It needs to be earned," he said on Fox News.
On Thursday, Donalds responded to Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who on Wednesday dismissed him as a mere "prop."
"[For what it's worth], @ByronDonalds is not a historic candidate for Speaker. He is a prop," Bush tweeted. "Despite being Black, he supports a policy agenda intent on upholding and perpetuating white supremacy."
Speaking on Fox Business, Donalds said he felt bad that Bush believed it was necessary to personally attack him.
"That sucks, to be honest with you, man," Donalds said. "I feel bad that she really put that out there because you know, if you see a black man rising, I mean, let the man rise, even if you don't agree with him.
"As a black man to a black woman, I would've never done that to her," he added. "It's a shame she did it to me."