Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Gen. Milley faces his toughest day yet on Capitol Hill The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio MORE (R-Fla.) says GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE’s past business operations in Cuba trouble him.
Newsweek reported Thursday that a company controlled by Trump violated U.S. trade bans by doing business in Cuba in 1988, during Fidel Castro’s presidency.
“I hope the Trump campaign is going to come forward and answer some questions about this, because if what the article says is true — and I’m not saying it is, we don’t know with a hundred percent certainty — I’d be deeply concerned about it, I would,” Rubio said on ESPN/ABC’s “Capital Games” podcast Thursday, according to ABC News.
“This is something they’re going to have to give a response to. I mean, it was a violation of American law, if that’s how it happened.”
Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE’s campaign directly hammered Trump over Newsweek’s report.
“Trump’s business with Cuba appears to have broken the law, flouted U.S. foreign policy and is a complete contradiction to Trump’s own repeated, public statements that he had been offered opportunities to invest in Cuba but passed them up,” adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.
“This latest report shows once again that Trump will always put his own business ahead of the national interest — and has no trouble lying about it.”
Newsweek on Thursday reported that the Trump-controlled company spent at least $68,000 during its 1988 "foray" into Cuba.
Executives at the company “funneled” cash for the trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corporation, the report said.
Seven Arrows helped Trump’s senior officers make consultants’s trips and related expenses in Cuba appear legal by linking them to a charitable effort, according to Newsweek.
Corporate expenditure in communist Cuba was illegal without approval from the U.S. government at the time.
Americans and corporations were not allowed to spend cash in Cuba, Newsweek noted.
Only a foreign charity or sponsoring group could pay expenses, it said, including travel.
Trump Hotels’ trip violated federal law, Newsweek added, as it did not obtain a license from the federal Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) before consultants visited Cuba.
An OFAC official told Newsweek there was “essentially zero” chance the agency would have granted Trump’s company a license.
The payment occurred just before Trump launched a presidential bid in the Reform Party.
Trump vowed during that campaign that he would uphold the Cuba embargo and not spend his companies’s money there until Castro left power.
Rubio is a longstanding supporter of the Cuba embargo and a vocal credit of President Obama’s diplomatic thaw with Havana.
Trump ultimately defeated Rubio and 15 other candidates in the GOP presidential primary.
Rubio endorsed Trump in late May despite an at-times fierce rivalry with the real estate tycoon.