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After promising to dismantle the Congressional Black Caucus from the inside out, Mia Love (pictured, center), the first Black female Republican elected to Congress, has joined the group, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

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Rep. Love (Utah) 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, the Post reports.

The decision was a head turner, especially after Love told the Deseret News in 2012 that she would join the group “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.” But after her midterm elections win last year, she began to soften her rhetoric, saying that change must come “from the inside out.”

The Washington Post reports:

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.

The Post notes that Love declining membership to the CBC would have been optimal to her constituents and would have been viewed as a rejection of race-based identity politics, the kind conservatives have often denounced.

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.

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