In a tour de civility, Rep. Carlos Curbelo met with a 19-year-old who threatened to kill him and forgave him.
Curbelo, a Florida Republican, appeared at a joint news conference on Thursday with Pierre Alejandro Verges-Castro, whom the congressman said had fallen “into the trap of violent political speech and hateful expression” but did not plan to actually follow through on his threat, the Miami Herald reported.
The FBI arrested Verges-Castro after he tweeted a non-specific threat toward Curbelo, per the Herald.
Both the tweet and Verges-Castro’s Twitter account have since been removed.
Curbelo is running for a third term in Florida’s 26th District, which encompasses the southern tip of the Sunshine State, including the Florida Keys, against Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
The district is nearly 70 percent Hispanic, per the 2016 U.S. Census.
Curbelo, a moderate Republican who supports stricter access to firearms but voted with the GOP in support of its tax cut and to repeal the 2010 health care law, is holding his own in a district that broke for Hillary Clinton by more than 16 points over President Donald Trump in 2016.
A New York Times/Sienna College poll of likely voters in the district from late October saw Mucarsel-Powell and Curbelo in a statistical tie, with 45 percent and 44 percent support, respectively.
Standing alongside Verges-Castro on Thursday, Curbelo said the man had apologized to him for the tweet and that he did not want it to “ruin” Verges-Castro’s life.
“I’m pretty sure he had no idea how serious what he had done was,” Curbelo said. “He does now. I’m grateful to him for being willing to not just learn a lesson himself, but to stand with me here today and to share what has been a difficult experience.”
Verges-Castro was not accompanied at the press conference by an attorney, so Curbelo answered questions.
“Pierre still has an open case with the State Attorney so he will not be speaking today,” Curbelo said. “But once his case is resolved, I’m sure he will have plenty to say.”
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