Tampa area state Rep. Jamie Grant said Wednesday he’s not backing away from his Monday tweet calling Donald Trump‘s proposed ban on Muslims from entering the country a “a fascist proposal.”
“The answer to immigration problems in this country is not fascism. It’s not registries of people who look a certain way or believe a certain thing,” Grant said at a meeting of the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative at the Children’s Board in Ybor City on Wednesday.
The GOP lawmaker sat on a panel with Tampa state House Democrats Janet Cruz and Ed Narain where the focus was on heath care, but the conversation veered into immigration when Narain was asked by moderator Donna Peterson how much heath care should go to the children of undocumented immigrants.
“We’ve got to find a path to citizenship for these folks,” said Narain, the son of immigrant parents. “I’m not saying that once you make it here, you’re here. I’m saying, let’s find a path. That’s going to involve paying money and becoming a citizen the right way. But once they’re here, we should not penalize their children.”
That prompted Grant to say that once he saw Trump’s comments on his Twitter feed on Monday, “I kind of got unfiltered and thought my campaign team is going to kill me for what I have to say” before he went ahead and tweeted his comments.
Narain then told the audience that they should start following Grant on Twitter. “He took Mr. Trump to task. I do commend you for because you did stick your neck out there and it was the right thing to do,” he said to applause.
Fellow Tampa Bay area GOP House member Chris Latvala has also been extremely outspoken about Trump.
On his Facebook page, Latvala wrote after Pinellas County U.S. Rep. David Jolly said Trump should no longer run for president after his recent remark that the New York City real estate magnate would be a “tyrant, plain and simple,” if elected president.
“This maniac is a facist (sic)… And democratic plant put in the race by the Clintons,” Latvala wrote. “If he wins the nomination he will get trounced by his longtime friend Hillary Clinton. Perhaps that was the plan all along.”
But not all members of the Florida House Republican caucus were so quick to criticize Trump.
“My guess is @realDonaldTrump won’t think twice about @DavidJollyFL or @Kriseman but his supporters won’t soon forget. #Cruz2016,” tweeted Lakeland House Republican Neil Combee, in reaction to Jolly’s comments, as well St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman‘s tweet heard ’round the world that he was banning Trump from entering St. Pete (Kriseman said he was joking).