While Republican lawmakers took turns denouncing the actions of conservative protesters who heckled House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi outside a campaign event in Coral Gables, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Party apologized on Saturday for his “Unbecoming” behavior during Wednesday’s rally and denounced the extremists in attendance.
Nelson Diaz, who said he did not organize the protest, was one of a few dozen conservatives who gathered outside Democratic Congressional candidate Donna Shalala’s campaign headquarters ahead of a scheduled event inside that was supposed to include an appearance from California lawmaker Barbara Lee, who has drawn scorn from the Cuban-American community for her support of the island nation’s late dictator Fidel Castro.
Diaz, who is Cuban-American, was videotaped during the protest repeatedly banging on a locked door used moments earlier by Pelosi to enter Shalala’s campaign offices. “Not sure who was behind this behavior but you should have protester Pelosi campaign stop without borrowing the tactics of left wing mobs.”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was injured in a politically motivated shooting in June, also denounced what he considered threatening behavior from the protesters. “The right to free speech is sacred and must always be protected, regardless of how distasteful a view a person may have. It is our sincere hope that those on the right and the left condemn these acts.”
Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who is running against Mucarsel-Powell in District 26, chimed in as well, likening the actions of protesters Wednesday with over-the-top political fanaticism.