It appears as if the Republican primary rift between President Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio has been brushed aside as the two men are now arm-and-arm singing kumbaya over reversing much of President Obama’s new Cuba policy.
Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) are said to have helped the president craft his upcoming ‘newer’ U.S.-Cuba policy, which will be unveiled in Miami this coming Friday.
While Trump has signaled in the past his support for doing trade with Cuba, both Rubio and Diaz-Balart have been two of the most outspoken opponents of the Cuban regime, have said that they would only support any kind of trade of communist Cuba once the human rights violations ended, free elections established, and to political prisoners released, are just a few sticking points that the two Cuban-American legislators stand by.
Both Rubio and Diaz-Balart are also in favor of reinstating the now debunked “wet food, dry foot” immigration policy, as well as overhauling the failing Cuban Adjustment Act.
So, whatever President Trump decides to do as far as Cuba goes, know that it has the blessing of Rubio and Diaz-Balart. Trump’s upcoming U.S.-Cuba policy will most likely come off as hawkish, while flashing some nuances in foreign policy.
It has to.
For Rubio and Diaz-Balart to back any U.S.-Cuba relations measure, it has to somehow conform with their longstanding opposition to the Castro regime.
If the two stand by a somewhat similar or even weaker U.S. policy with Cuba, Rubio and Diaz-Balart will look weak, and their exiting political influence on the issue will be diminished.
A recent Miami-Herald story, which sounds more like a biased hit, portrays Senator Rubio as nothing more than a apologist and defender of President Trump regarding the former FBI Director Comey’s recent testimony about a possible investigation into Trump over the whole Russia collusion probe.
Or, more like it, to turn Comey’s testimony around and ask rhetorical questions that inserted doubt into Comey’s candid revelations. Rubio shifted the attention from Trump to leaks to the media. As for information, Rubio seemed most interested in getting Comey to publicly admit that President Trump “was not personally under investigation” than in obtaining any new evidence for the Senate investigation.
It was as if Rubio — who has become a fixture at the White House and has voted to confirm all of Trump’s controversial appointments — was acting as Trump’s defense attorney instead of as member of a bipartisan committee investigating crucial national security issues.
Rubio’s defense comes from a senator who called Trump a “con man” when they were both running for the Republican nomination, and who vowed to become the checks-and-balances senator the president might need. Well, this was the moment — and Rubio was only there to cast doubt on Comey, whose testimony could cost Trump the presidency.
Plain old partisan politics, perhaps, but there’s more.
Rubio took issue with the story
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 9, 2017
The story then shifted to Cuba
President Trump has a two-faced view of Cuba. Although he made a campaign pledge to Bay of Pigs veterans in Miami that he would restore a hard-line approach to dealing with its government, his administration includes executives who eagerly embraced engagement and traveled to Cuba to explore business ventures.
Donald Trump, the citizen, also wanted to do business on the island.
Long before President Obama restored relations with Cuba in 2014, executives from the Trump organization visited Cuba to explore opening a luxury golf course, buying a hotel and erecting a Trump Tower in Havana. These excursions without Treasury Department approval, in violation of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, were well documented by Bloomberg Businessweek and Newsweek.
Despite the campaign promise, a reversal of Cuba policy wasn’t a sure thing. Trump’s inauguration Cuba policy has been “under study,” always a bridesmaid but never the bride to other policy priorities, as well as the president’s mounting scandals. But during the controversial healthcare vote, the Trump administration began making political deals.
For Rubio, an ultra conservative who courted Florida’s and the nation’s tea party voters with zeal, up-ending one of President Obama’s most significant legacy achievements in foreign affairs is a top priority — and personal.
When President Obama announced on Dec. 17, 2014, that he was shedding 50 some years of failed Cuba policy — a historic moment embraced on both sides of the Florida Straits — the president did the unthinkable: He didn’t consult with Cuban Americans in Congress.
Rubio called it “a new low” and “a slap in the face.”
With Trump’s troubles swept aside, Rubio gets the opportunity to slap back — and take his victory lap in his home turf of Miami.
Again, while Rubio will make some concessions with Trump over Cuba, he won’t sell the farm to win favor with a sitting president, neither will Diaz-Balart. Both opposed Trump in the past and have vowed to hold him accountable by being a “check and balance.”
If either Rubio or Diaz-Balart are standing alongside President Trump on Thursday in Miami, the presidents new foreign policy will all-but repeal President Obama’s entire agenda with Cuba.
Bank on that. Dale!