Tags: Castro-Cuba | Rand Paul | cuba | ron paul | embargo | congress

Rand Paul, Long Silent on Cuba Policy, Overlooked by WH

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Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 06:41 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Although the White House insists members of Congress from both parties were briefed on the historic change in U.S. policy toward Cuba prior to its announcement Wednesday, a key Republican lawmaker they overlooked is a leading 2016 presidential hopeful who has never taken a stand on Cuba: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

At a White House press briefing shortly after the president made his stunning announcement of opening diplomatic relations and lifting the embargo on Cuba, Newsmax asked if the administration had reached out to Republicans who were either sympathetic to the president’s position or neutral.

As examples, we mentioned former presidential hopeful and Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Texas), who has long supported lifting the embargo, and his son Rand, who is "yet to take a position on lifting the embargo and has yet to issue a statement on the change of policy."

"Interesting," replied press secretary Josh Earnest, "Well, I assume you all will be asking him about that."

Earnest then told us "[t]he president and members of his team convened a number of conversations with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill about this policy change. And what I can tell you is there were Democrats and Republicans who were pleased about the anticipated announcement, and there were Democrats and Republicans on the other side of this issue as well."

Reached by Newsmax later in the day, Paul spokesman Sergio Gor told us the senator "wasn’t invited to the White House and did not know about the policy change before it was announced. He had no reaction to the new Cuba policy."

As the dramatic change in policy was being announced at the White House, the Washington publication Politico pointed out the positions on lifting the Cuban embargo of several GOP presidential prospects for 2016. Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Florida), both sons of Cuban immigrants, are on record as against lifting the embargo, with Rubio calling the president’s decision "disgraceful" and vowing to block it in the Senate.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush "slammed" Obama’s decision, Politico reported.

But Paul, according to Politico, has "said little about the embargo on Cuba, although his views on foreign policy have tended to align with those of his father, who spoke out against the embargo in 2008 and 2012.

In November, Paul’s office told The Wall Street Journal that Paul "had not recently taken a public position on the embargo."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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Although the White House insists members of Congress from both parties were briefed on the historic change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, a key Republican lawmaker they overlooked is a leading 2016 presidential hopeful who has never taken a stand on Cuba: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
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Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 06:41 AM
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