Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) called Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) to apologize for yelling “go back to Puerto Rico!” while the California-born Democrat prepared to speak on the House floor Thursday.
“While waiting to speak on the floor of the People’s House, a member of Congress shouted, ‘go back to Puerto Rico!’ I was shocked, because I often heard those kinds of comments when I was a kid growing up in Pacoima, California, where I was born and raised,” Cardenas told TPM through a spokesperson. “A few hours later, I received a call from Congressman Jason Smith, who took responsibility for the comment and sincerely apologized. I accepted his apology.”
“I told him I look forward to having a nice and respectful conversation when we return to D.C. on Tuesday. He agreed that we should get to know each other better,” Cardenas continued. “I appreciate his call and our future relationship. There is a saying that I was taught by my parents, de todo lo malo, siempre sale algo bueno, which in English means, ‘from everything bad, something good will come of it.'”
On Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) rebuked the then-unknown congressman who shouted the remark, warning the body to “refrain from any implications which have any undertones of prejudice or racism.”