MIAMI (WSVN) - U.S. Rep Mario Diaz-Balart was inside a meeting where President Trump reportedly used the phrase “sh*thole countries.” After being one of the representatives who met in Miami regarding Cuba relations, he was asked about the president’s comments.
The U.S. House National Security Subcommittee hosted the Tuesday morning briefing that took place at Miami-Dade College. The meeting explored what could happen if the U.S. and Cuba were to normalize relations.
However, the tone shifted after the meeting when Diaz-Balart was asked if the American people deserve to know what exactly President Trump said in the closed-door meeting.
Before 7News’ Rosh Lowe was able to ask Diaz-Balart a question, the reporter was met with, “I don’t do gotcha-questions. If it is, I just won’t answer it.” Diaz-Balart followed with, “Let’s get real.”
When asked if Americans have the right to know what Trump said in regards to the alleged “sh*thole countries” comment, Diaz-Balart said, “The American people have the right to know a lot of things and everything, but let’s just get something straight, I’ve been in public service for three decades now, and when I meet with a constituent, when I meet with an ambassador or if I meet with the head of State, and we close the door on the meeting, there is the obvious expectation that what is said in those meetings is not going to be said in public.”
The U.S. representative refused to confirm nor deny Trump’s comment but said he is concerned about hundreds of thousands being deported under Trump’s immigration policy.
“Others can comment about what is said in different public meetings,” said Diaz-Balart. “I will stay focused on the fact that in March about 800,000 individuals face imminent deportation if we do not reach a deal.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was also present at Tuesday’s briefing, spoke on Trump’s comments and Diaz-Balart’s remarks.
“I called the president what I think he is: a racist,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “[Diaz-Balart] realizes that other people have commented on it. They don’t consider it a private meeting, but Mario is a very true-to-his-word kind of legislator.”
Senator Marco Rubio also weighed in. “I can’t opine on a meeting I wasn’t in and whether-or-not disputes on what actually occurred,” he said. “Suffice it to say that if anyone were to make those comments to me in my presence, I would address it.”
Diaz-Balart declined further questions surrounding Trump’s comments.
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