Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelUS officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request MORE (D-N.Y.) and Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzUS officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  Appropriators fume over reports of Trump plan to reprogram .2 billion for wall American Cancer Society says Trump doesn't get credit for drop in cancer deaths 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