Presidential races

Paul slams Rubio as ‘isolationist’ on Cuba

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is hitting back against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Cuba in a preview of a possible debate between two presidential hopefuls. 

In a series of tweets at Rubio on Friday afternoon, Paul called the Florida senator an “isolationist” for opposing the opening to Cuba announced by President Obama on Wednesday, turning a label often used against himself around. 

On Thursday night, Rubio had said that Paul “has no idea what he’s talking about” when it comes to Cuba. Paul, who is less hawkish on foreign policy than the traditonal Republican view, has backed Obama’s move to establish an embassy in Cuba as well as ease travel and economic restrictions. 

Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, has strongly opposed Obama’s move. Both Paul and Rubio appear to think the issue is a winner for them, and are making their messages known. Paul also wrote a Facebook post

Other possible Republican candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have also opposed Obama’s Cuba move, highlighting Paul’s contrasting position. Many GOP observers been critical of Paul’s support for the Cuba move, fueling their skepticism of his foreign policy. 

Paul linked to a Florida International University poll this summer that found a majority of Cuban-Americans support opening up relations with Cuba.

For his part, Rubio argued on Thursday night, in appearance on Fox News’s “The Kelly File,” that there are “holes” in the embargo that allow money, goods and visitors to flow in, and he pointed to the Cuban government as the problem. 

“Look, Venezuela’s economy looks like Cuba’s economy now,” Rubio said. “You can’t even buy toilet paper in Caracas. And there’s no embargo on Venezuela. What Venezuela has in common with Cuba, is they both have adopted radical socialist governmental policies.

“And I would expect that people would understand that if they just took a moment to analyze that, they would realize that the embargo is not what’s hurting the Cuban people,” Rubio added. “It’s the lack of freedom and the lack of competent leaders.”

Tags Marco Rubio Rand Paul Ted Cruz
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