A 19-year-old Florida man was arrested last week after he threatened to kill Rep. Carlos Curbelo. On Thursday, the Republican lawmaker publicly forgave him.
Pierre Alejandro Verges-Castro was arrested after he posted “I will kill Carlos Curbelo” on Twitter on Oct. 24 – in the midst of the nationwide scare over package bombs sent to prominent Democrats.
“Political intoxication is making some Americans more prone to both verbal and physical violence. It’s a serious crisis and we all have to do our part to put an end to it,” Curbelo tweeted at the time.
Curbelo eventually met with his constituent, and the pair held a joint press conference Thursday. The congressman said he was able to put into context what led Verges-Castro to make the threat and said his “life shouldn’t be ruined” because he “made a mistake,” according to the Miami Herald.
“I’m pretty sure he had no idea how serious what he had done was,” Curbelo said. “He does now. I’m grateful to him for being willing to not just learn a lesson himself, but to stand with me here today and to share what has been a difficult experience.”
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“I truly believe in second chances. I am hopeful Pierre will become a model citizen who is now in a unique position to be a part of the force for healing that our community and our country so desperately need,” he added.
Curbelo is not pressing charges, the Miami Herald reported. The Twitter account of Verges-Castro, a registered independent, has since been removed.
Because the case is still open and he didn’t have an attorney with him, Verges-Castro did not speak during the press conference.
“What a great display of unity and civility at a time when we desperately need it,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., calling Curbelo a role model.
“In a time of runaway anger & ceaseless political conflict, [Curbelo] & a young man who made a terrible mistake have given us a lesson in civility, humility & forgiveness,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio echoed on Twitter.
Curbelo has represented Florida’s 26th district since 2015. He faces Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in this year’s race, which Fox News has ranked as a toss-up.
Verges-Castro has been charged with written threats to kill or do bodily harm, according to WFOR-TV.