Sen. Marco Rubio ripped President Barack Obama’s dealings with the Cuban government Wednesday morning, saying he is the worst presidential negotiator since Jimmy Carter.
The Florida Senator also hit the Obama administration for “coddling” dictators and tyrants, following the news of Alan Gross’ release from Cuba Wednesday morning,
Rubio, who is one of three Cuban-American members of the U.S. Senate — alongside Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Ted Cruz– said that while he is glad Gross is coming back to the U.S., he is worried about the precedent this deal sets.
“We’re all glad that Mr. Gross will be back with his family. He never did anything wrong. He was not a spy, He was not a criminal, he was a hostage. It is unfortunate they held him for five years and basically almost killed him in captivity,” Rubio told Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer Wednesday morning. “I am not in favor of the process by which his release was acquired because I think it does set some very dangerous precedent. It puts a price on every American abroad governments now knows they can take an American hostage, they can get very significant concessions from the United States.”
The release of Gross is yet another sign of improving relations between the U.S. and Cuba, with the U.S. also freeing three Cubans who were previously jailed. Rubio continued to convey his sense of worry that President Obama’s dealings with Cuba will increase commerce and trade with the fascist government.
“But later on the president, I believe, will announce measures that go well beyond simply the release of Mr. Gross. I think they will entail things like normalized diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. The opening up of more commerce and trade with a dictatorship. My interest in Cuba has been the furthering of democracy and freedom,” Rubio said.
“I think the people of Cuba have a right, if they are free, to choose any economic system they want. Nothing the president will announce today will further that goal. It is ironic a week after he imposed sanctions on human rights violators in Venezuela, we are lifting sanctions on the government that has taught the Venezuelans how to commit these human rights violations,” Rubio continued. “It’s absurd, and it’s part of long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established.”
“It’s par for the course and administration possibly giving away unilateral concessions for Iran or Cuba in exchange for nothing,” said the Florida senator. “His foreign policy is, at a minimum, naive, and perhaps truly counterproductive to the future of democracy in the region.”
“Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president since at least Jimmy Carter, and maybe in the modern history of this country,” Rubio concluded.