Hell froze over Wednesday morning after MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts unwittingly agreed with Rush Limbaugh’s claim that President Barack Obama didn’t recognize Cuban president Raul Castro when they shook hands at Nelson Mandela’s funeral on Tuesday.
Roberts made the convincing case while speaking to a panel about the historic handshake, which was the first greeting between the leaders of the United States and communist Cuba in over 50 years. “I think — I’ll tell you my theory — I don’t think the president knew that that was Raul Castro,” Roberts asserted.
“I mean, ’cause, if you play that video again, you can see Castro saying to him ‘I’m Castro!’” he continues. “He goes up there and shakes his hand… Watch… Castro pulls him back He’s like ‘I’m Castro.’ ‘Oh, well that’s great. Oh, ok.’”
“Anyway, that’s my philosophy,” he said. “We’ll see if anybody will ever admit to that. I don’t think he knew it was! Look at this. Over 90 heads of state are there. Does the president know the seating chart? I don’t think so.” (RELATED: Rush Limbaugh: Obama didn’t know it was Raul Castro’s hand he was shaking)
In the video, Castro appears to forcefully tell the president, “I’m Castro,” laughing when Obama finally seems to get it.
Having long languished in the shadow of his larger-than-life brother, Raul Castro ascended to the presidency of Cuba following Fidel Castro’s illness. He has been leader of Cuba since 2008 — longer than Obama has been in office and certainly long enough for the president to put a name to a face.
The president has faced criticism for the handshake. Republican Senator John McCain compared it to Neville Chamberlain shaking hands with Adolf Hitler, while Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called it a “bloody” handshake that would be used for propaganda purposes back in Cuba.
Guests had mixed reactions to Roberts’ heresy. “He might not know the seating chart — I find it a little hard to believe he won’t recognize Raul Castro,” said contributor James Peterson. But Michael Tomasky from The Daily Beast bought the theory. “I think you’re on to something,” he said, laughing. “I hadn’t thought about that before.”
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@