TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS) – Democratic Presidential frontrunner Senator Bernie Sanders is drawing flack from Florida lawmakers on both sides of the aisle following comments he made about Cuba in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday night.
During the interview Sanders doubled down when asked about past comments he’d made about Cuba.
“It’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know when Fidel Castro came into office you know what he did? He had a massive financial literacy program. Is that a bad thing?” Said Sanders.
Almost immediately the Democratic Presidential frontrunner began taking flack from Florida Republicans and Democrats alike.
Governor Ron DeSantis condemned the Senator’s comments while talking to reporters Monday.
“Any attempts to white-wash the brutality of the Castro Dictatorship is just totally unacceptable. It flies directly in the face of the values of the people throughout this state,” said DeSantis. “And this is a Senator who has spoke positively throughout his whole life about the Dictatorship there. He spoke positively about Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. He’s been a long time supporter of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and that’s just unacceptable.”
State Senator Annette Taddeo, a Miami Democrat, tweeted, “Saying a murderous dictator wasn’t so bad because of a literacy program is like saying “there were very fine people, on both sides”.
Florida’s two US Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio along with multiple South Florida Representatives have also condemned Sander’s comments.
“He puts a number of swing seat congressional and state legislative members in Miami-Dade in a bind. They now have to come out and oppose the potential nominee for President and that’s never a good place to be,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic Strategist.
Schale said the comments could easily cost Sanders the Cuban vote in South Florida.
“The biggest thing for Democrats is the later generation Cubans are now swing voters. They voted for Obama, they voted for Clinton. We need them in 2020 if we’re going to win the state,” said Schale.
Schale noted the comments aren’t likely to affect Sanders much in the Primary next month, but if he makes it to the General Election that’s where it could really hurt.
Vice President Mike Pence says Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders is “wrong about Cuba.”
Pence was asked about Sanders’ “60 Minutes” comments praising the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro for establishing a literacy program.
Pence says, “For Bernie Sanders to tout a literacy program in the midst of the tyranny of Cuba is just truly remarkable.”
The vice president adds that he and President Donald Trump are “going to make this election a choice between freedom and socialism, and I have every confidence the American people will choose freedom once again.”
He says Democrats “are on the verge of nominating as their party’s standard-bearer someone who embraces the economic philosophy that has impoverished nations for generations.”
Pence’s remarks came Monday during a White House program with the Hoover Institution.