Rep.-Elect Donalds joins Republican imitation of ‘The Squad’

The original 2018 photo that gave rise to the term ‘The Squad.’ From left to right: Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Photo: AOC/Instagram)

Dec. 4, 2020 by David Silverberg

11:00 am corrected Donalds affiliation.

Rep.-Elect Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.) has joined a Republican effort to imitate and counter the four progressive Democratic members of Congress informally known as “The Squad.”

Seven newly-elected Republican House members are calling themselves “The Freedom Force.” According to Donalds, they reject the kind of progressive programs and policies advocated by The Squad.

Rep.-Elect Byron Donalds announces his membership in ‘The Freedom Force’ on Fox News. (Image: Fox News)

Americans, Donalds stated in an interview on Fox News, “just want to have opportunities to succeed. They don’t want people in Washington telling them how they’re going to go about doing that. They want the freedom to choose for themselves and I’m here to fight for that and that’s what the Freedom Force is here to do.” He said the group was necessary because “the Left has people out there every single day pushing this narrative that America is some worse off country, that we need a heavy hand from government, that you have to have this ultra-progressive left-wing policies.”

“The Freedom Force is nothing more than a media opportunity for a bunch of freshman representatives who will otherwise not have the ability to do anything in Congress as part of the minority party,” Cindy Banyai, Democratic candidate for Congress in the recent election, pointed out in an e-mail to The Paradise Progressive. “The squad was branded as such because of their massive popularity and ability to make change. They didn’t name themselves that to seem important, like this group. These pathetic copycats can’t even come up with their own concept to counter this powerful group of effective women that they maligned to get elected.”

In alphabetical order, the members of The Squad are: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) (D-14-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-5-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-7-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-13-Mich.).

The members of The Freedom Force are: Reps.-Elect Stephanie Bice (R-5-Okla.); Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.); Carlos Giménez (R-26-Fla.); Nicole Malliotakis (R-11-NY); Maria Elvira Salazar (R-27-Fla.); Victoria Spartz (R-20-Ind.); and Michelle Steel (R-48-Calif.).

Asked about The Freedom Force by NBC News, Omar said: “I mean it sounds ridiculous to me. I think they think they’re in high school. We’re in Congress.”

Donalds attacked AOC in mailers and campaign literature during his run for Congress, said Banyai. He likened Banyai to AOC and tried to “scare his donors and fan the flames of fear of socialism.”

The Squad was informally named in 2018 after the four members were elected to the House of Representatives and had their picture taken while attending a progressive orientation session. AOC titled it “Squad” and shared it on Instagram and created the hashtag #Squadgoals. It then became the focus of media attention because all the members had broken barriers and represented new faces of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

In an interview on CBS This Morning on July 17, 2018 Pressley explained the genesis of The Squad. Their intention was “not just about dismantling, but what we’re intentional about is building and fostering,” she said. “Anyone who is committed to the work of building a more equitable and just world is a part of the squad.”

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg

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