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Political Science Prof. Discusses Local Lawmaker Reaction To Trump's Charlottesville Comments

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After President Donald Trump's strong statements revisiting the Charlottesville violence, South Florida's Republican congressional leaders quickly fired off tweets.

Sen. Marco Rubio ended a series of tweets, saying, "The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win. We cannot allow this old evil to be resurrected."

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tweeted, "Blaming "both sides" for #Charlottesville?! No. Back to relativism when dealing with KKK, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists? Just no."

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said, "We should always condemn racism, hatred and violence, it does not represent our values and it has no place in our country."

Congressman Carlos Curbelo called out the president tweeting, "@POTUS just doesn't get it. There is no moral equivalence between manifestations for or against #whitesupermacy. He's got to stop."

On Wednesday, CBS4's Ted Scouten reached out to the Republicans who represent South Florida in Washington to ask questions about their response to the president and their plans going forward. None of them were available.

"This is more than tweets going forward," Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch said.

He said by the president's comments it shows him it's time for Congress to take the lead.

"The tweets are great, but we ought to hear our members, Congress, our elected officials, tell us what they're going to do when they return to Washington," he said.

Charles Zelden is a political science professor at Nova Southeastern University. He's not surprised South Florida's Republican delegation is unavailable.

"The easiest way not to piss off anybody, or piss off everybody, is simply not to be available. You make your statement and then you just go radio silent," he said. "I think that's what we're seeing here."

Zelden said going forward, Republicans will have to decide if they'll stick with the president or make a split.

"This could be the tipping point. This could be the point where they say you went a step too far, no," Zelden said. "But on the other hand the Republicans like being in power. Because they're very afraid of the Democrats being in power, and having the Elizabeth Warren wing in charge."

Zelden said to watch to see if Republicans distance themselves from the president when Congress goes back into session after Labor Day.


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