"I never made myself famous"

Donato Dalrymple defends his role in the ongoing Elian Gonzalez saga.

Published May 12, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Donato Dalrymple made fresh rounds on the cable news talkies Wednesday, with
comments on Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez's Miami asylum hearing. "I'm looking out for the best interests of little Eliancito," the man who rescued the child off the coast of Florida told Fox News. The comment came in response to a question about why he sought the removal of attorney Kendall Coffey from the group of lawyers representing the boy's Miami

Dalrymple, who's made more appearances on cable news than Miami cousin Marisleysis
has at the local emergency room, blanched at a quote from Lazaro
Gonzalez in Wednesday's Miami Herald, in which the Miami family patriarch said Dalrymple made the move without the family's approval.

"I didn't need anybody when Elian was out on the ocean, any lawyers or anybody to tell me what I should or shouldn't do," Dalrymple told Fox News. "I'm doing this out of the goodness of my heart and what's right for -- for Elian. And now I am not coming against Lazaro or the family."

Then the questions got tougher. Reporter Jack Thompson asked if the man who has turned down few requests for an interview -- especially if it involves wearing new clothes for TV -- wasn't basking in the glow of his newfound celebrity.

"Me and my cousin rescued that little boy on Thanksgiving Day. There is no newfound fame. I'm not famous, or if somebody did make me famous, it's the media," Dalrymple retorted. "I never made myself famous. I'm just a man with a heart towards God, and I did the very best I could for this boy to live in liberty here in America."

By Daryl Lindsey

Daryl Lindsey is associate editor of Salon News and an Arthur Burns fellow. He currently lives in Berlin and writes for Salon and Die Welt.

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