He's not known just for his leather jacket and cowboy hat. City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., a Democrat from the Bronx who is also a conservative Pentecostal minister, is known for making remarks that spark outrage.
This time, Diaz shocked members of the Council this week when he suggested reporting the sexual harassment would make him "a rat." The comments were made during a routine training session which was attended by council members and staff.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer slammed the comments made by Diaz. He called them "disgraceful and disqualifying," and said they would send a signal to harassers that their behavior would not be reported.
"Any and all calls by a Council member to not report sexual harassment that you personally witnessed is absolutely outrageous. We have an obligation as elected officials, but as human beings to report sexual harassment," Van Bramer said.
Earlier this year, Diaz was stripped of his committee after he made incendiary comments about the LGBT community, saying the Council was "controlled by the homosexual community." Diaz has stood by the remarks, accusing the Council of trying to censure his freedom of speech.
"No matter what I say, they're always going to twist what I say," Diaz said. "Anybody that commits sexual harassment should be reported. It wasn't the way they said it. I have been harassed, I have been bullied. Anything that I say, they twist it."
Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the councilman's comments, calling the words "dangerous and disgraceful."
Last month, Diaz announced plans to run for Congress after Congressman Jose Serrano said he would step down. Councilman Ritchie Torres, who is also considering a congressional run, said the latest incident shows Diaz isn't fit for the job.
"The question is, how are those views going to be received by the largely female electorate of the South Bronx? The congressional race in 2020 is going to be something of a social experiment. Can a Trump Republican win the most Democratic district in America? We'll find out," Torres said.
Voters have elected Diaz three times over the last decade. Although the Council cannot punish him over his most recent comments, voters will have a chance to decide his future next year.