Rubio: Obama should rethink 'dangerous' Cuba trip
© Getty Images
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFormer Florida congressmen mull bipartisan gubernatorial run: report Winners and losers from Jim Bridenstine’s confirmation as NASA administrator GOP Senate candidates trade barbs in brutal Indiana primary MORE (R-Fla.) is pushing President Obama to cancel his trip to Cuba, suggesting that the administration is rewarding the country's bad behavior with a presidential visit.  
"I urge you to reconsider visiting Cuba and instead insist that the Castro regime finally make some serious concessions that have so far not been prioritized in negotiations," Rubio wrote in a letter to Obama. "A presidential visit to Cuba absent of any concessions from its government is a dangerous idea."
Rubio's letter comes after the White House announced that Obama will visit the island in March, marking the first presidential visit to the island since 1928. 
Rubio, who is running for president, said that Obama's Cuba policy has "methodically squandered" any opportunity to leverage the years-long negotiations with Cuba to require the Castro government to improve human rights and political freedoms. 
"Having an American president go to Cuba simply for the sake of going there, without the United States getting anything in return, is both counterproductive and damaging to our national security interests," he added. 
Rubio isn't the only senator suggesting that President Obama should rethink his trip. 
"The president is — again — prioritizing short-term economic interests over long-term and enduring American values. He will rue this decision, just as he will ultimately rue giving a lifeline to the Ayatollah," the New Jersey Democrat, and frequent critic of the administration's foreign policy, added Thursday. 
Despite criticism from the bipartisan duo, Obama's trip was quickly praised by Democratic senators and at least one GOP lawmaker: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeWinners and losers from Jim Bridenstine’s confirmation as NASA administrator Manchin, Donnelly back Pompeo Juan Williams: GOP support for Trump begins to crack MORE

“For Cubans accustomed to watching their government sputter down the last mile of socialism in a '57 Chevy, imagine what they'll think when they see Air Force One. Just think of the progress that can come from one day allowing all freedom-loving Americans to travel to Cuba," the Arizona Republican said.  

Flake previously praised the president for including his push to repeal the decades-old Cuba embargo in his final State of the Union speech. Despite Flake's support, top congressional Republicans have largely appeared cool to the president's effort.