Miami, FL – During a live debate on WLPG-10 this Sunday, Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo falsely claimed that his former senior aide was not part of a violent mob last Wednesday at an event in Coral Gables, in which members of a national hate group yelled profanities at his opponent, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, during a visit from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
But here’s the truth: Congressman Curbelo’s former field director and director of constituent services, Kevin Marino Cabrera, was caught on camera violently banging on the door and yelling aggressively at the hate rally in a video posted online.
Curbelo’s former aide was part of a violent rally planned by the chair of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, Nelson Díaz, along with the Proud Boys, a national hate group that saw at least two of its members arrested
this week for spreading violence in New York and across the country.
Cabrera’s professional profile describes how he “began his political career (…) as a volunteer for Congressman Carlos Curbelo’s 2014 congressional campaign and subsequently joining the campaign as its Field Director. Kevin later served as the Director of Constituent Services in Congressman Curbelo’s district office,” according to a news report by radio host Grant Stern.
Curbelo (center) with his congressional staff; Cabrera is second from the right.
But this Sunday, Congressman Curbelo tried to deny the connection, falsely saying that “the gentleman she mentioned (Cabrera) was never a senior aide of mine.”
After Wednesday’s hateful rally, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Terrie Rizzo, called for Díaz to resign as head of the Miami-Dade GOP. Meanwhile, Congressman Curbelo and his campaign spent the day spreading divisive rhetoric, tweeting that “the ultra left wants to take over these districts.”
He changed course three days later, telling The Miami Herald on Saturday night that “political intoxication is a serious problem in our society.” But he flip-flopped again on Sunday’s debate, refusing to call for the resignation of Díaz as head of the Miami-Dade GOP, and falsely denying his former staffer’s role in the rally.
Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign responded on Sunday afternoon: “The violence we saw Wednesday has no place in our community, and Congressman Curbelo should apologize for fueling the flames of divisiveness in South Florida to boost his own campaign,” said Melvin Félix, spokesman for the Mucarsel-Powell campaign. “On this issue, as with so many others, Congressman Curbelo’s empty statements show a lack of courage and leadership. His failure to call for the resignation of Nelson Díaz, his failure to denounce his former staffer, and his failure to apologize to Debbie and the other women present Wednesday when given the chance, speaks volumes about a congressman who claims to care about civil discourse.”