Senior Dem chides Rubio, GOP on barbs

Senior Dem chides Rubio, GOP on barbs
© Lauren Schneiderman

Retiring Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinThe Trumpification of the federal courts Global health is the last bastion of bipartisan foreign policy Can the United States Senate rise to the occasion? Probably not MORE (D-Mich.) late Wednesday chided Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Apple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech MORE (Fla.) and other Republican lawmakers for saying President Obama is wrong to normalize relations with Cuba.

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Levin told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that it is “right to try to have a more normal relationship with Cuba,” pointing out that the U.S. today has ties with China and Vietnam.

Levin said there is a “determination” in the GOP to be “critical of anything that President Obama does.”

Such attacks are “inconsistent with a need to have a bipartisan foreign policy,” according to Levin.

The potential thaw comes after the White House secured the release of both Alan Gross, a U.S. humanitarian worker who had been jailed in Cuba for over five years, and a U.S. intelligence asset who had been imprisoned for almost 20 years.

Rubio, a likely presidential contender in 2016, said the White House “conceded everything and gained little” from Cuba’s Communist regime, and labeled Obama the “single-worst negotiator we’ve had in the White House in my lifetime.”

Levin flatly rebutted those charges.

“I think when Senator Rubio says that we got nothing, he should talk to the family of Alan Gross. He should talk to the family of the intelligence operative, that saved American life that is now out of Cuban prison. That is such an exaggerated statement to suggest that we got nothing, nothing in exchange,” he said.

“We got key people, human beings, Americans like Alan Gross,” said Levin, who was part of a group of House and Senate lawmakers who greeted Gross upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews, outside of Washington.