Bass: 'Lesson learned' on 2016 Castro comments

Bass: 'Lesson learned' on 2016 Castro comments
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Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Virginia mayor refuses to resign over controversial Biden, 'Aunt Jemima' post Trump campaign on Biden VP pick: 'He's going to tear the party apart' MORE (D-Calif.), a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said on Sunday that she had learned a lesson about her 2016 comments on the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, adding that she “wouldn’t do that again.”

Bass addressed reports about her travels and comments on Cuba on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” including when she called Castro “Comandante en Jefe” in a statement after his death in 2016. 

The California lawmaker acknowledged that people in Florida viewed her description as “endearing to him.”

“I didn’t see it that way,” she told moderator Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddKaren Bass: 'I'm not a socialist, I'm not a communist' Cuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Chuck Todd's 'MTP Daily' moves time slots, Nicolle Wallace expands to two hours MORE. “I was expressing condolences to the Cuban people to the people in Cuba, not Cubans around the world.”

“I don’t think that’s a toxic expression in California, but let me just say Chuck, lesson learned, wouldn’t do that again,” she added. 

Bass also said she communicated with lawmakers from Florida after receiving criticism for her statement and “realized that that was something that just shouldn’t have been said.”

Bass said she believes in “bridging the divide” between Cuba and the U.S., noting she has worked on health care-related issues in the last two decades. But she said “that doesn’t excuse the fact that I know the Castro regime has been a brutal regime to its people.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Bass also discussed her statement on Castro, saying in hindsight she “absolutely would not have put that statement out.”

Bass told host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceKaren Bass: 'I'm not a socialist, I'm not a communist' Trump adviser Jason Miller: Biden running mate pick 'his political living will' Sunday shows - Stimulus debate dominates MORE she understood “an awful lot more now” than she did in the 1970s, and that “the Castro regime did not have the same freedoms we do.”

“What I also believe is the best way to deal with change is to have relations,” she noted, crediting the Obama administration’s steps to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE’s 2020 campaign went on the attack on Saturday against Bass. On a call, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire McConnell: Wearing a mask is 'single most significant thing' to fight pandemic McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill MORE (R-Fla.) and Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez (R) slammed the California lawmaker for past comments and trips to Cuba.

Bass responded to the Trump campaign's calling her a "Communist Karen" and Rubio designating her as a "Castro sympathizer" by saying she didn't consider herself to be a sympathizer of Castro.

"Well one, I don't consider myself a Castro sympathizer," she said. "Number two, my position on Cuba is really no different than the position of the Obama administration."

Zack Budryk contributed.