Speaker’s race: Chip Roy gets standing ovation after noting historic nominations of 2 Black Americans

It was a rare moment of bipartisanship during a fraught House speaker vote Wednesday.

Rep. Chip Roy of Texas saw a standing ovation in honor of Reps. Byron Donalds and Hakeem Jeffries, two Black congressmen nominated for speaker of the House.

Roy nominated Donalds on the House floor Wednesday, saying the Republican will “stand up” to the “swamp” in Washington.

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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. arrives in the House Chamber for the second day of elections for Speaker of the House as Rep.-elect Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, talks to Rep.-elect Chip Roy, R-Texas, behind him at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C. 

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. arrives in the House Chamber for the second day of elections for Speaker of the House as Rep.-elect Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, talks to Rep.-elect Chip Roy, R-Texas, behind him at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

While praising Donalds, Roy also tipped his hat to Jeffries — the Democratic minority’s choice for Speaker.

“And for the first time in history, there have been two Black Americans placed into the nomination for speaker of the House,” Roy said.

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The acknowledgment saw applause from both sides of the aisle. However, Roy emphasized his belief that race itself was never a consideration in nominating Donalds.

“We do not seek to judge people by the color of their skin, but rather the content of their character,” Roy said. “Byron Donalds is a good man —  raised by a single mom, moved past diversity, became a Christian man at the age of 21, and has devoted his life to advancing the cause for his family and this country. And he has done it admirably.”

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Rep.-elect Chip Roy, R-Texas, talks to Rep.-elect Byron Donalds, R-Fla., in the House Chamber during the second day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C. 

Rep.-elect Chip Roy, R-Texas, talks to Rep.-elect Byron Donalds, R-Fla., in the House Chamber during the second day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Roy continued, saying that Donalds would bring a “change” in perspective to Congress and better reflect voters outside Washington, D.C.

“But there’s an important reason for nominating Byron, and that is this country needs a change,” he said. “This country needs leadership that does not reflect this city, this town, that is badly broken.”

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives at the Capitol as the House meets for a second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives at the Capitol as the House meets for a second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

McCarthy did not get enough votes to secure the speakership on his fourth vote for the office, with the House Freedom Caucus moving from supporting Jordan to Donalds.

The GOP leader can only afford to lose four votes in his quest to become speaker.

Fox News’ Houston Keene and Patrick Hauf contributed to this report.

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