Florida lawmakers went into damage control mode after President Donald Trump attacked Colombian President Ivan Duque during an off-the-cuff comment about closing the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday.
Trump said Duque, the U.S.’s most important ally in the ongoing effort to oust Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, “has done nothing for us” in combating the flow of illicit drugs.
The comments, which were not shared with members of Congress in advance, prompted at least four lawmakers, Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio along with Democratic Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Debbie Wasserman Schultz to speak with Duque directly.
“I think that the president should extend an apology to the President of Colombia,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “Not only should we be supporting their efforts but there’s a lot more the U.S. can do to support Ivan Duque in his fight against drugs.”
Duque, who visited the White House last month and has held office for less than a year, was “quite upset” with Trump’s remarks, according to two sources with knowledge of his discussions with lawmakers.
“I’ll tell you something, Colombia, you have your new president of Colombia,” Trump said during a visit to tout repairs on Lake Okeechobee’s dike. “Really good guy, I’ve met him — we had him at the White House. He said how he’s going to stop drugs. More drugs are coming out of Colombia right now than before he was president, so he has done nothing for us.”