(CNN) The chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus said Tuesday that two African-American Republicans elected to Congress last week were welcome to join the group, but one of the new members-elect — Tim Scott of South Carolina — indicated he would decline.
“I grew up in an environment where we were just very much integrated, and life worked out really well,” Scott told reporters Tuesday. “I think the best for America is finding a way to fuse all of our communities together and erase all those lines that separate us.”
Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who chairs the Black Caucus, said in a statement that membership in the traditionally left-leaning group “has never been restricted to Democrats.”
“Should either of the two African-American Republicans recently elected to the House of Representatives request membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, they will be welcomed,” Lee’s statement said.