Cruz: Cuba embassy a 'slap in the face' to Israel
© Greg Nash
Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzHow 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation AIPAC must reach out to President Trump Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support MORE (R-Texas) slammed Obama's decision to reopen the U.S. embassy in Cuba, suggesting that it was a "slap in the face" to Israel. 
 
The administration announced on Wednesday that it has told lawmakers that a deal has been reached to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba and reopen embassies. 
 
Cruz, who is running for president, called Obama's announcement "unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem." 
 
The United States currently has an embassy in Tel Aviv, but Cruz has repeatedly called for the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. 
 
The Texas Republican, as well as Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder MORE (R-Fla.), have backed legislation that would scrap a national security waiver that allows the administration to bypass a 1995 law to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem. 
 
Rubio said separately on Wednesday that he would oppose the confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba until the Obama administration tackles a handful of issues including U.S. fugitives living in Cuba and travel restrictions on U.S. diplomats. 

Cruz added in a statement that he will place a hold, effectively blocking, any nominee unless Obama "can demonstrate that he has made some progress in alleviating the misery" of the Cuban people.

Obama's move has split Republicans, with Sens. Dean HellerDean HellerRed-state Dems in Supreme Court pressure cooker This week: House GOP faces make-or-break moment on ObamaCare Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE (R-Nev.) and Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeOvernight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules Overnight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs Senate votes to block internet privacy regulations MORE (R-Ariz.) suggesting that Wednesday's announcement was a step in the right direction.

Democrats largely backed Obama's decision, with Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinMaking water infrastructure a priority Senators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate confirms Trump's pick for Israel ambassador MORE (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, saying that "we are moving in a more hopeful direction."

But Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.), a leading critic of Obama's Cuba policy, said that the decision sends a message that "democracy and human rights take a back seat to a legacy initiative.”