Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation House Democrats pull subpoena for ex-Trump national security official MORE (D-N.Y.) and Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzDem rep defends calling Ken Cuccinelli a white supremacist Both sides claim win in White House official's impeachment testimony Ex-Rep. Livingston pressed for Ukraine ambassador's firing, says witness MORE (D-Fla.), who are outspoken critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his anti-Semitic rhetoric, dismissed criticisms that President Obama acted too friendly with Chavez last weekend.

In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, Engel -- who was on a CODEL at the Summit of the Americas where Obama and Chavez amicably shook hands -- said, "Chavez ran over to Obama and shook his hand. And I think there was no other thing that he could do but shake the hand. That is what you do if someone puts out their hand."

Likewise, Wasserman Schultz said, "A handshake does not transform Chavez into a great guy. It just was a handshake."

Engel and Wasserman Schultz have been longtime opponents of Chavez.

As recently as two months ago, Wasserman Schultz criticized Chavez on the House floor for failing to respond forcefully to an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Caracas.

Some Republicans have lambasted Obama for his interaction with Chavez. The president last weekend dismissed criticisms about the exchange.

--Michael Gleeson