NOEL KING, HOST:
President Trump is going to Miami today. He's going to be talking about his administration's major legislative achievement - tax cuts. But some of the president's more recent moves, like imposing tariffs, have overshadowed his win on taxes. There are now fears of a possible trade war, and that may alienate voters in the November midterm elections. Our co-host David Greene talked with a Republican who has, at times, strongly opposed President Trump and his policies. Congressman Carlos Curbelo is from Florida.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: You did not support President Trump during the campaign. Do you support him as president right now? Would you come out and tell voters in your district that you're a supporter of this president?
CARLOS CURBELO: My attitude today is same attitude I had when President Obama was president and is the same I said during the campaign. It depends on the issue. For example, on the economy and taxes, I think the administration has done good work. That's why I worked with them on this tax legislation that's making a positive difference for so many people in my district. On foreign policy, I think in the case of Venezuela, in the case of Cuba, in the case of Syria, where I hope the United States will send a strong message very soon like we did last year, the administration's doing good work. Now, on other issues like the environment, I think they're failing. And I have been very outspoken about that, and I won't stand by while Scott Pruitt tries to destroy the EPA and disrespects American taxpayers with his conduct.
GREENE: You're actually one of two Republicans, I think, who has called for Scott Pruitt to resign or be fired at the EPA.
CURBELO: Three of us in the House...
GREENE: Three of you, OK.
CURBELO: And I hope we'll get more soon. But I think this is the role of a member of Congress - to just call it honest no matter who's in the White House and make sure that we are exercising our Article I powers.
GREENE: But is it the role of a Republican member of Congress to, as you just said, treat the president from your own party in the same way as you would a President from the Democratic Party? I mean, it's striking to hear a Republican congressmen say that you're treating a Republican president in the same way that you would a Democratic president.
CURBELO: Well, it shouldn't be, because the institution of the House and the Congress should be more important to every member of Congress than their political party. And I think if we're going to be honest, sincere, authentic, representatives of our districts, we need to call it honest.
GREENE: One basic political question - I mean, you are in a very competitive district. I mean, you're running against - I suppose you would like to keep your seat. Do you need to run against this president to win this November?
CURBELO: No, I need to run on my record and on the issues that are important to my community. That is why I'm active on trade in a way that is typical for a Republican or at least has been for many years. I'm also active on the environment, an issue where Republicans have fallen short for a very long time.
GREENE: Does being tied to President Trump hurt you with swing voters in your district?
CURBELO: I think that in terms of the economy and taxes, people are feeling good. And you've seen in a lot of data out there that the public is feeling better about the economy and approve of the way the economy has been handled by the Congress and the executive. So, you know, for the media, I think there's a rush to categorize people and to try to put people in boxes. And that's just not going to work with me because I'm my own person on every issue.
GREENE: Congressman, always nice talking to you. Thanks a lot. We appreciate it.
CURBELO: My pleasure.
KING: That was David Greene talking to Republican Congressman from Florida Carlos Curbelo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.