Joy Reid Clashes with Rep. Byron Donalds Over Jim Crow Comments

MSNBC host Joy Reid had a heated exchange with Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) on Thursday during her show, “The ReidOut.” The tense moment arose when Reid questioned Donalds about his remarks on black marriage rates during the Jim Crow era.

The discussion began with Reid asking Donalds to explain why he cited the Jim Crow era to highlight higher black marriage rates. Donalds attempted to respond, but Reid interrupted him multiple times. Reid recounted a tragic story from that period to emphasize the era’s harsh realities, questioning Donalds on how he could view any aspect of that time positively.

Donalds tried to clarify, saying, “All I was talking about, Joy, was the marriage rate in the black community.” However, Reid continued to challenge his statements, leading to a back-and-forth exchange. Donalds insisted that his comments were taken out of context and that he did not suggest the Jim Crow era was beneficial for black families.

The congressman highlighted that his point was about the importance of fathers in the home, not about endorsing the era itself. He stated, “It is always for the betterment of children to have leadership in the home. Yes, for safety, for having two people in the home to help provide the economic needs for those children, so the family can succeed.”

Reid remained skeptical, questioning the implication of his statements. “If a black man, a black father, could not protect his wife, his son, or himself from lynching and violence, how is him being in the home mean that that is an era that was better for the black family or that we should think of as a good thing?” she asked.

Donalds responded firmly, “First of all, Joy, I never said it was better for black people in Jim Crow. I have never said that. And even my own words say that. Don’t try to impose the fact that the marriage rates were better, higher, I want to be clear, higher in the Jim Crow era to mean that I think Jim Crow was great. That’s a lie. That is gaslighting.”

The exchange continued with both Reid and Donalds standing their ground. Reid accused Donalds of bringing up the Jim Crow era, while Donalds accused Reid of misrepresenting his words. “You’re the one who brought it up,” Reid said. Donalds shot back, “I’m not going to let you gaslight and misuse my words, Joy. I’m not going to let you do it.”

Donalds has defended his statements in subsequent appearances, arguing his words were misinterpreted. He received significant pushback from Democratic leaders, including the Congressional Black Caucus and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who called for an apology.