Here's what Mia Love told the Deseret News about the Congressional Black Caucus in 2012, the year she lost her first U.S. House race:
Yes, yes. I would join the Congressional Black Caucus and try to take that thing apart from the inside out.
It’s demagoguery. They sit there and ignite emotions and ignite racism when there isn’t.
They use their positions to instill fear. Hope and change is turned into fear and blame. Fear that everybody is going lose everything and blaming Congress for everything instead of taking responsibility.
Well, Rep. Love, who softened some of her rhetoric about the CBC in 2014, saying that change must come "from the inside out," was among the 46 names called at a ceremonial swearing-in for the group, which hasn't had a Republican in its midst since Rep. Allen West (Fla.) in 2012.
For the handful of black Republicans in Congress, whether to join the CBC has always been a question. Former congressman J.C. Watts (Okla.) declined to join. Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), when he was elected to the House in 2010, did the same, saying that the race-based group "highlights the divisions I’ve been pushing forward to erase." (Scott had been in the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus at one point but found the divide too great to bridge). And the name of Rep. Will Hurd (Tex.) was not among those read out loud during CBC's swearing-in ceremony.
When black Republicans have declined membership to the CBC, it is seen by conservatives as a thumb in the eye to race-based identity politics, the kind conservatives have often denounced.
Love herself has spoken out against labels, saying her victory was not about race or gender. She has said that her victory showed that "Utahans have made a statement that they are not interested in dividing Americans based on race and gender."
Love is making a different statement in joining a group whose membership is not based on ideology, but solely on skin color -- a move that seems at odds with much of her rhetoric.