CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Democratic Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock about a 1995 speech by former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro given at a church he worked at as a youth pastor.
Warnock has drawn fire from his opponent, Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, for the fact that he was a youth pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York when Castro gave a speech there.
While Fox News reported that the church’s pastor praised Castro and attendees chanted “Fidel! Fidel! Fidel!” Warnock’s campaign has so far refused to confirm or deny that the Senate candidate was in attendance.
“Let me ask you about one of those attacks,” Tapper said during a Sunday morning “State of the Union” interview. “Because Senator Loeffler keeps mentioning on the campaign an incident from 1995 when you were a youth pastor at a New York church which hosted a speech hosted by Fidel Castro … Did you attend the speech? And do you understand why there are so many people who view Castro as a murderous tyrant and not someone to be celebrated?”
“I’ll tell you what I understand,” Warnock responded. “I understand why Kelly Loeffler is trying to change the subject. I was a youth pastor. I had nothing to do with that program. I did not make any decisions regarding the program. I’ve never met the Cuban dictator. And so I’m not connected to him. I’ll tell you whose names are on the ballot. Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler. This race is not about anybody else.”
“But do you understand why so many people view any celebration of Fidel Castro as celebrating something ugly and tyrannical?” Tapper pressed. “I think you just called him a tyrant. He was a murderous thug. I get that this is a distraction. But do you understand why people would be appalled by anyone celebrating Fidel Castro?” (RELATED: Warnock Said America Should ‘Repent’ For Supporting Donald Trump In 2016 Speech)
After saying “absolutely” and insisting that he “never” has celebrated Castro, Warnock went on to make his case as a U.S. Senate candidate.