August 5, 2020

Florida GOP brands Bass a Castro ‘sympathizer’ as she rises on Biden shortlist

Sen. Marco Rubio. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images

TALLAHASSEE — Fidel Castro is as soon as once more casting a lengthy shadow over U.S presidential politics.

The former Cuban president is a subject of derision for each political events in Florida and Republicans right here used him on Saturday to bash Karen Bass, a California Democrat who’s rising on Joe Biden’s vice-presidential shortlist.


“She will be the highest-ranking Castro sympathizer in the history of the United States government,” Sen. Marco Rubio stated on a convention name organized by the Trump marketing campaign to trash Bass.

Bass made quite a few journeys to Cuba courting again to the 1970s, and professed her sympathies when Castro died in 2016, a place that’s politically toxic in Miami, a key block of voters in a state central to President Donald Trump’s re-election bid. Much of the early focus when rumors emerged that Bass was rising amongst VP candidates was her description of Castro as “Comandante en Jefe” in a assertion when he died, a phrase that interprets to “commander-in-chief.”

“As Cuba begins nine days of mourning, I wish to express my condolences to the Cuban people and the family of Fidel Castro,” her workplace issued in a assertion marking the Cuban chief’s dying. “The passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba.”

Her feedback got here at a time when then-President Barack Obama was attempting to normalize relations with the island nation, together with opening an embassy in Havana. Bass was a part of the delegation that traveled to Cuba for the 2015 embassy opening.

Florida, and Miami particularly, represents a vast cross-section of Latinos, lots of whom have fled or have members of the family who fled leftist Latin American regimes, together with Castro’s Cuba. South Florida every election cycle options makes an attempt by politicians to model their political opponents as Castro sympathizers to attain political factors in a area the place the difficulty is a little bit of a third rail. But on paper, Biden has to date been powerful for Republicans to solid as a socialist, however it has been the go-to messaging technique for the GOP in recent times, and one thing deployed to bitter voters on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ earlier this 12 months. And there has additionally been early indicators that some Florida Democrats are involved about Bass’ positions on Cuba as properly.

Bass has since tried to stroll again that assertion, saying last week on MSNBC “it’s certainly something that I would not say again.”

“I have always supported the Cuban people, and the relationship that Barack Obama and Biden had in their administration in terms of opening up relations,” she stated.

On the Trump marketing campaign name, Rubio stated it’s not nearly one remark.

“This is one thing that she will now need to deflect from, however I don’t consider within the final six a long time that there has ever been anybody thought of for the vice presidency … with this degree of sympathy in the direction of a Marxist regime,” Rubio stated.

He stated the actual fact Bass supporters are attempting to make it about one remark is “insulting.”

The Biden marketing campaign sidestepped Bass’ remark itself and stated the Trump is hardly the particular person to color anybody else as being too sympathetic to the world’s tyrants.

“There is one presidential candidate who has didn’t meaningfully condemn dictators and expressed a willingness to satisfy with brutal dictator Nicolas Maduro and that’s Donald Trump,” said Kevin Muñoz, a Florida spokesman for Biden for President. “Make no mistake: it’s Donald Trump who failed to answer this pandemic that’s hurting Florida households as we noticed one other day of report deaths — and that is nothing however one other try to distract from his failures.“

The 77-year-old former vice chairman and Delaware senator has developed a repute as a reasonable, one thing that labored towards him in a Democratic main towards Sanders, whose progressive supporters loathed Biden’s model of centrist politics. Biden beat Sanders with Hispanic voters in Florida’s March main, which helped deflate the narrative from Sanders supporters that points like Castro and socialism had been shedding sway with Florida’s Hispanic voters.

With Bass’ rise, nevertheless, Trump’s marketing campaign sees a gap to additional solid Biden as a “Trojan horse” for the kind of insurance policies pushed by Sanders and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Republicans wish to level to as proof that the Democratic Party is being dragged too far to the left.

“This is how the socialist and communist revolutions begin to take hold of nations that were once prosperous and free. Nations like Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua,” Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, who’s Cuban American, stated on the Trump marketing campaign name. “Taking recommendation from folks like Bernie Sanders and AOC are actually only the start.”

In Florida, the priority about Bass is bipartisan, as Democrats are apprehensive placing her on the ticket would needlessly give Trump new ammunition within the nation’s largest swing-state. Many Florida Democrats additionally help one other Biden short-lister: Val Demings, a Black former Orlando police chief who has been in Congress since 2016.

POLITICO has reported that Florida Democrats had been involved as quickly as Biden started floating Bass’ names as a potential operating mate.

“Praise like the one that was given by Bass at the time of Castro’s death is inconsistent with my family’s experience with what the regime did — and continues to do — to people on the island, which is suppress human rights, keep people under a totalitarian thumb and stifle economic growth,” Miami state Rep. Javier Fernandez, whose bid for an open state Senate seat might carry Democrats nearer than ever to flipping management of the chamber, stated in a June interview.

“The comments are troubling,” he added. “It shows a lack of understanding about what the Castro regime was about.”

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