Joe Garcia's 'Communism Works' Gaffe Lights Up His S. Florida Constituency, GOP
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U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., already one of the top Republican targets in November, is playing defense after a gaffe during a Google event Tuesday in which he said “communism works.”
Speaking about immigration, Garcia looked to contrast Democrats and Republicans on the issue.
“When you attract people, you are the dominant culture that people want to emulate and copy what you’re doing because it works,” Garcia said. “And, in America, we are doing a huge disservice to ourselves by not understanding how powerful of a driver in the economy an immigration system that works can be, and continues to be, and by not having an immigration system that works.
“Let me give you an example, the kind of money we’ve poured in,” Garcia added. “So the most dangerous -- sorry, the safest city in America is El Paso, Texas. It happens to be across the border from the most dangerous city in the Americas, which is Juarez, right? And two of the safest cities in America, two of them are on the border with Mexico. And of course, the reason is we’ve proved that communism works.
“If you give everybody a good, government job, there’s no crime,” Garcia continued. “But that isn’t what we should be doing on the border. The kind of money we’ve poured into it, and we’re having diminishing returns. So while we’re doing -- we’re spending all of this money here, we have border problems in Puerto Rico. We haven’t been able to set up a system that’s safe there. People are finding alternative routes. The opportunity to get this right and the mistake that Republicans make -- and I say Republicans because it’s Republicans right now -- I’m known to say that Democrats were also possessed by xenophobia in 2008 and particularly after 9/11 and the economic crisis, but today we’re in a much better place as a party. And the problem that Republicans have is that they’re fighting a battle they cannot win.”
"This is an absurdity, accusing the son of Cuban immigrants of believing in communism is just ridiculous," Garcia told the Miami Herald.
But Republicans aren’t buying it. On Wednesday, Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, went after Garcia on a host of matters, including a recent Web video showing the South Florida congressman cleaning his ear with finger and proceeding to eat his earwax, which went viral.
“Congressman Joe Garcia has embarrassed South Florida families with his voter fraud scandal, his bad committee hearing hygiene and now he has the audacity to say communism works,” Prill said. “If his bone-headed behavior before wasn’t an indication, this irresponsible statement proves that Joe Garcia is not fit to represent the 26th District in Congress.”
America Rising, a PAC backing Republicans, released the video with Garcia’s statement.
Miami Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo’s campaign team, the favorite for the Republican nomination to challenge Garcia, took aim at the Democrat on Wednesday.
“Joe Garcia’s endorsement of communism is both offensive and embarrassing to our community,” said Nicole Rapanos, a spokeswoman for Curbelo. “The only thing Joe Garcia has once again proven is that he is unfit to serve in Congress -- much less lead an effort to pass high-profile legislation. Our district deserves an effective congressman we can trust in Washington; not someone who constantly embarrasses us and makes headlines for all the wrong reasons.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.