U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart was the sole Floridian at a live televised meeting on immigration Tuesday at the Cabinet Room of the White House.
Afterward, the Miami-Dade Republican said the meeting demonstrated one thing to critics of President Donald Trump‘s mental capability to handle the job — they have it all wrong.
“The American people got to see the person I’ve dealt with,” Diaz-Balart said Wednesday morning on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
“There’s been all this innuendo and statements that the president is not stable,” he told guest host Raymond Arroyo. “He’s not real … He doesn’t know anything … He’s stupid.”
“Well, you know something? That’s just not true.”
Some analysts speculate that Trump’s decision to let the television cameras stay in the room Tuesday — for 55 fascinating minutes — was a direct rebuke to the uproar in the past week over passages from “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff.
Wolff’s book, an instant best-seller, paints a dark picture of the president as having decaying mental faculties, suggesting he is perhaps unfit to lead.
As for Diaz-Balart, he was extremely impressed by how Trump conducted the meeting, which lasted more than 90 minutes in all.
“What you saw here was a president who likes to hear different ideas, who throws things out there. He was dealing. To me, it looked like a board meeting of like a corporation where you have the CEO throwing ideas, questioning people, challenging people, (and) not a hint of arrogance by the way.”
Diaz-Balart spoke of the noticeable difference in Trump’s meeting compared to Barack Obama‘s meeting on health care with members of both parties shortly after his election in 2009.
During that meeting, Obama memorably called out to then-Virginia GOP Rep. Eric Cantor that “elections have consequences.”
Trump’s meeting was on immigration, where the president did appear to contradict himself at one point over support of a “clean” bill on dealing with thousands of undocumented immigrants currently in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The DACA program is scheduled to expire March 5.
“I think people underestimate the president,” Diaz-Balart continued. “I don’t think the press underestimates him — they want to destroy him. But I think that a lot of folks who support him underestimate him a lot.”
Diaz-Balart said he was a bit cynical going into the meeting, thinking that it would be a “dog and pony” show after looking at the lengthy list of invited members of Congress. But he said, in fact, Trump handled the meeting “masterfully.”
Some conservatives weren’t pleased with what they heard during the meeting on immigration, with commentator Ann Coulter, in particular, blasting the President’s comments regarding DACA and border security.
Nothing Michael Wolff could say about @realDonaldTrump has hurt him as much as the DACA lovefest right now.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 9, 2018
However, Diaz-Balart said those critics should settle down.
I don’t think anyone can claim that (Idaho Republican) Raul Labrador is a left-wing radical,” he told Arroyo. “Bob Goodlatte. Sen. (Tom) Cotton. I mean, Sen. (Tom) Tillis. You’re talking about some folks who want to get things done. So if you believe in border security, we’ve never been this close.”
Diaz-Balart is running for re-election in Florida’s 25th Congressional District, a district Trump won by only two points in 2016.
In 2016, Diaz-Balart defeated Democrat Alina Valdes.