Miami-Dade GOP Chairman Responds to Criticism of Proud Boys in Leadership Ranks

Miami-Dade GOP Chairman Rene Garcia dismissed criticism that the local Republican Party Executive Committee he chairs was being taken over by Proud Boys members.

“For the Miami Herald to identify and say that one or two members, (who) are part of the Proud Boys, is a complete takeover of the GOP… that is pretty much inaccurate and a lie,” Garcia said in an interview with NBC 6’s Jackie Nespral on the political show Impact.

Garcia’s comments came after the Miami Herald published an editorial responding to a New York Times report which characterized the Miami-Dade Republican Party as being “gripped” by the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group.

“Yes, we have fringe elements,” Garcia said to the New York Times. “Yes, we have different points of view in our party. That’s how we are. And my job as Republican chairman is to protect everyone’s First Amendment right, however wrong they may be.”

The Herald called on Garcia to walk back his comment and disavow the hate group.

The New York Times reports that there are “at least a half-dozen current and former Proud Boys who have secured seats” on the board.

The Miami-Dade GOP Executive Committee has approximately 125 members in its committee, according to the New York Times.

Two Proud Boys on the Miami-Dade Executive Committee have been charged in connection with the January 6th U.S. Capitol riot, the Times reports.

When asked how the members got to sit on the committee, Garcia blamed the rulebook and bylaws of the organization.

‘Members are elected through the public. When there are vacancies in the GOP, they are voted on by the membership so what happens when the membership votes is that if someone is not running against that person within the organization, they automatically become a member but they are voted on by the membership,” said Garcia.

Garcia said that despite the Proud Boys being charged, they can only be removed after a conviction.

“The moment they are convicted, there will be a process in place to remove them from the Miami-Dade GOP,” said Garcia.

Garcia went on to say that he is looking at revamping the rules of the Miami-Dade Republican Party Executive Committee to have a better vetting system.

“We now have a rules committee that we didn’t have before I became chair. We have started a process to make sure we have a better process of vetting people who are coming into the GOP,” said Garcia.