Republican Rep. Raúl Labrador emerged upbeat, but coy from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump Monday.
After the meeting at Trump Tower, Labrador of Idaho dodged questions about whether he spoke about a Cabinet position with Trump. But he said he had a great meeting about "Western issues" and said that he wanted to be helpful to the administration "in any way that I can."
"I'm excited for America that we're going to have a new administration that is, that has, hit the ground running, and I think we, there's a lot of things where I can help, but if I can help him in the administration, I can help him in Congress. I'm very excited to do that," Labrador said.
Labrador was an immigration attorney before being elected to the House in 2010. In Congress, he serves on the House Judiciary and House Natural Resources committees. His visit to Trump Tower was additionally notable in that, so far, no Latinos have been nominated to the Cabinet and few, if any, before Labrador have made an official visit for a possible position.
"It's surprising there hasn't been a single Latino yet named to a Cabinet position. There's always been at least one named to the Cabinet since Ronald Reagan," said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the bipartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.
Labrador criticized Trump during the campaign when Trump slammed Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge of Mexican descent presiding in a lawsuit involving Trump. Trump first called the judge Mexican even though the judge was born in the U.S. and then asserted the judge could not do his job fairly because of his heritage.
Despite his disdain for Trump's actions regarding Curiel, Labrador continued to support Trump, saying he agreed with him on policies.