Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) said Monday that President Donald Trump would be a better president if he did not listen to his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and his senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller.
Curbelo appeared on CNN, where "OutFront" host Erin Burnett asked him why he thought Trump would call an "Islamic-related terror attack ‘terror,'" but wouldn't say the same about a man with "Alt-Right" ties who may have purposefully rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19 on Saturday.
Curbelo said that every political leader should be held accountable for their statements, but he then placed some blame on members of Trump's staff who "believe in accommodating this ‘Alt-Right' movement in the United States and apparently don't want to offend anyone who associates with it."
"Alt-Right, just so that people understand, is not a group of people who have certain ideas about tax reform or about immigration reform or anything like that," Curbelo said. "Alt-Right is about white nationalism. It is about racism. It is about dividing this country, and regrettably, there are members of the president's staff who at least believe that this movement should be accommodated."
Curbelo said there is no place in the United States for this movement, and that Trump lacked clarity in some of his statements.
He went on to say that Trump is responsible for his statement, but acknowledged that the modern-day president does not sit down and draft all his speeches and statements.
"I really think the president needs to start listening to the highly competent, highly professional patriots on his staff—people like Gen. [John] Kelly, Gen. [H.R] McMaster, [and] Gen. [James] Mattis, people who have sacrificed for this country instead of those who believe in accommodating people who are hell-bent on dividing this country, on excluding American citizens from the American experience," Curbelo said.
Burnett pointed out that Curbelo had used the "plural" form when talking about members of Trump's staff who were not helping Trump by accommodating the "Alt-Right" movement. She then asked him to specify who he was talking about.
"Steve Bannon is the most prominent," Curbelo said. "I think a lot of these ideas that you see coming from Stephen Miller are also associated with these groups, and that's unfortunate. Look, I'm not saying these people are racists. I'm not saying that they want to advance a racist agenda, but it is pretty clear that they believe that these groups should be accommodated."
Curbelo went on to say that he recently visited Berlin, Germany, where many of the hateful ideas originated prior to World War II. He said they have no place in the United States, and that they are "un-American."