Curbelo Talks Basketball and Bipartisanship with Roll Call at Spanish Eatery
Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), consistently ranked one of the most bipartisan Members of Congress, sat down with Roll Call’s Eric Garcia for an interview at Joselito Casa De Comidas, a Spanish restaurant in Washington D.C. that reminds Curbelo of South Florida. The two discussed Curbelo’s commitment to bipartisanship and how his time working as a high school basketball referee provided him valuable lessons he’s put into practice as a Member of Congress.
Roll Call’s “At the Table” is a video interview series where lawmakers show Roll Call reporters their favorite place for a meal near Capitol Hill.
A partial transcript of the interview is available below. A video of the interview is available here.
Curbelo Talks Basketball and Bipartisanship With Roll Call’s Eric Garcia
How Refereeing High School Basketball Prepared Him for Serving in Congress
Curbelo: “Here in Congress, if someone is promoting bigotry, division, exclusion, I don’t care what the letter behind their name is. I am going to call them out for it.
“So, when Paul [Gosar] made that nasty statement – and it was really a stunt because he knew no one was going to get arrested, but he did it to call attention to himself in a way that was really unnecessary and offensive – and I am glad so many Republicans rejected that.
“But, on the other hand, it’s not okay for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, an organization that’s for Hispanics serving in Congress, to say, ‘Oh you’re from a different party than we are, so you don’t count. You’re Hispanic, but you don’t count.’ So what does that mean? That if you’re a Republican Hispanic, or a [Hispanic] Independent in this country, you don’t get to have a voice in the organization that is for Hispanics?”
Holding the Administration Accountable, While Working Together on Common Ground
Curbelo: “Well, I get this question a lot. Often times it’s phrased, ‘How do you deal with Donald Trump?’ And I tell people, ‘I deal with Donald Trump the same way I dealt with Barack Obama.’ When he’s right, I’ll support whatever he’s advocating for, and then when I disagree with him, I am not going to be afraid to stand up and say this is wrong.
“With the Trump Administration, I’ve worked with them on taxes, on trade I have some differences with them – we are trying to sort those out now in the NAFTA renegotiation. But I’ll say this, look, he’s used rhetoric that I would never use – and that I have publicly condemned and I am doing so again here today – but if Donald Trump, for example, can push Congress to act on immigration and give Dreamers a permanent solution – something they’ve never had – that’ll be something to celebrate.”