After organizing a protest involving members of the proto-fascist “Proud Boys” gang, the head of the Miami-Dade County Republicans apologized for his actions.
On Saturday, Nelson Diaz told the Miami Herald that he “made a mistake and I apologize for” participating in a protest last week against against Democratic congressional candidate Donna Shalala.
He also denied having any ties to the “Proud Boys” — a group founded by noted bigot and failed stand-up comic Gavin McInnes — who joined Diaz at the protest. Diaz said that he only joined the protest because of his “personal beliefs,” and that he does not “support [the ‘Proud Boys’] or their mission.”
The protest followed Shalala’s decision to organize a campaign event with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who had in the past praised former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Also present at the meeting was Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority Leader.
While the protest wasn’t massive — only a “few dozen conservatives” turned out, according to the Miami Herald — it was far from peaceful.
Protesters banged on doors, including one that Pelosi had just entered, and hurled epithets toward the Democrats. As one member of the “Proud Boy” mob screamed, “You don’t belong here, you f*cking communist!”
In video of the protest, Diaz can be seen standing by as protesters continued their escalating behavior.
The Proud Boys, called a hate group by the SPLC, joined the Miami Dade GOP’s protest of Shalala’s office event with Pelosi yesterday
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) October 18, 2018
As it is, Diaz initially claimed he had nothing to do with organizing the protest. But that claim was undercut when emails later came out showing Diaz as the main point of contact for the protest. Diaz later told the Miami Herald that “the hate espoused by the Proud Boys has ‘no place in our society.’”
Diaz also claimed that he’d never heard of the “Proud Boys” before this week, when the gang rampaged against unarmed protesters in New York. Multiple members in the gang have been arrested the past few days due to their role in violence — violence that McInnes has advocated in the past.
Thankfully, prominent Republicans have begun speaking out about the violent demonstration. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Saturday decried Diaz’s protest, saying Diaz and the “Proud Boys” were “not helping the cause of anti-communism if you behave like the repudiation mobs Castro has long used in Cuba.”
You are not helping the cause of anti-communism if you behave like the repudiation mobs Castro has long used in Cuba. Not sure who was behind this behavior but you should have protested Pelosi campaign stop without borrowing the tactics of left wing mobs. https://t.co/LDsR4SDSPJ
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 20, 2018