Republicans slam Trump’s new policy toward Cuba

President Trump's new U.S. policy toward Cuba was met with strong opposition from within the Republican Party on Friday.

Trump announced a slew of new restrictions that curtail travel and commercial ties between the U.S. and Cuba, fulfilling one of his campaign promises to roll back Obama-era rules with the communist country. 

“I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba,” Trump said in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, where he announced the change. 

The move was immediately criticized by Republican members in both houses of Congress, including Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashWatchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet GOP Rep. Amash slams Kavanaugh on government surveillance rulings House Freedom Caucus roiled by Trump's attacks on Mark Sanford MORE (R-Mich.), who accused Trump of "dancing with the Saudis and selling them weapons" while talking about national security.

ADVERTISEMENT
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) joined in Amash's criticism, accusing Trump of abandoning his campaign promise to fight the "status quo."

Emmer also released a statement hitting the Trump administration over the decision.

"Most importantly, today’s announcement creates a very real security risk for the American people and our homeland by inviting foreign nations into our backyard to fill a void that today’s announcement is creating," Emmer wrote Friday.

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP senator: Senate should be 'disgusted' by Helsinki summit Flake to introduce resolution countering Trump's Russia summit rhetoric Senate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks MORE (R-Ariz.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyKavanaugh paper chase heats up Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet MORE (D-Vt.), who co-sponsored the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act with 53 other senators, bashed Trump for the abrupt reversal of the Obama administration's policy.

“Any policy change that diminishes the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba is not in the best interests of the United States or the Cuban people. It is time Senate leadership finally allowed a vote on my bipartisan bill to fully lift these archaic restrictions which do not exist for travel by Americans to any other country in the world," Flake wrote in a statement.

Leahy accused the White House of "re-declaring war" on Cuba with the new policy.

"This is a hollow retreat from normalization that takes a swipe at Americans’ freedom to travel, at our national interest, and at the people of Cuba who yearn to reconnect with us – all just to score a political favor with a small and dwindling faction here at home," Leahy wrote. “This White House, by reaffirming the embargo, has re-declared war on the Cuban people."

Leahy and Flake's bill, if passed, would lift the restrictions on U.S. tourism in Cuba. It has 55 total co-sponsors but has not yet been brought to the floor for a vote in the Senate.