Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo met and held a joint news conference with a 19-year-old constituent who threatened to kill him on social media, the Miami Herald reported.
Curbelo, who is seeking re-election in Florida's 26th District, publicly forgave Pierre Alejandro Verges-Castro for the threat, hoping to send a message about forgiveness and civility.
"During our conversation, I asked Pierre what led him to express himself in such a hateful way," Curbelo said during the Thursday news conference. "He mentioned some issues he had in his past. He also mentioned the toxic political culture of our times. While none of this excuses what Pierre did, putting his actions in context makes them easier to understand. We simply cannot continue down this path."
How did this come together?
Last week, the FBI arrested Verges-Castro for writing "I will kill Carlos Curbelo" on Twitter. Verges-Castro wrote the tweet on Oct. 24, the same day multiple mail bombs were sent to Democrats.
"I'm pretty sure he had no idea how serious what he had done was," Curbelo said, according to the Miami Herald. "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."
Curbelo decided not to press charges, and instead opted to meet Verges-Castro on Wednesday at the Homestead Police Department to talk it out. Curbelo said he didn't want the young man's life to be defined by one tweet.
"And as for Pierre, I wish him the best. He made a mistake, and his life shouldn't be ruined because of it," Curbelo said. "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."
Verges-Castro didn't speak during the news conference since his case is still pending.