The White House must draw a line in the sand when it comes to the mass protests in Cuba and President Joe Biden "needs to send the message to the president of Cuba that you cannot start firing on your people," Sen. Marsha Blackburn said on Newsmax Monday.
"It is just unbelievable that the White House is saying, 'oh, this is about vaccines,'" said the Tennessee Republican on Newsmax's "National Report." "No. This is a fight about freedom. Do not fire on these people, and allow them to peacefully protest. My hope is that they will be successful and that they will remove this dictatorship that they've been under for 60 years."
Biden issued a statement Monday morning about the protests, saying that the United States stands with the people of Cuba and their call for freedom. Sunday, thousands of Cubans joined in street protests from Havana to Santiago on Sunday in the biggest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in decades, chanting "freedom" and calling for President Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down.
"We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba's authoritarian regime," Biden said in his statement.
Diaz-Canel blamed U.S. sanctions, which had been tightened in recent years, for economic woes such as medicine shortages and power outages.
In other matters, Blackburn commented on Biden's troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying there is a "big difference" between what Biden is doing and former President Donald Trump's "orderly process."
"You have Biden saying, well, we're coming out September 11 ... then we wake up one day and they have turned over Bagram Air Base, which has been right there, the hub of our airlift capacity in Afghanistan," said Blackburn.
In addition, China is waiting in the wings because it wants to move "quickly" into Afghanistan, said Blackburn.
"They want to secure a land route from China into Iran," she said. "They are going to be very forceful in how they go in. We also know that the Taliban is incredibly aggressive and that they are moving in and retract recapturing territory. It's a tremendous concern to me."
Blackburn on Monday also spoke out about a tweet posted by the FBI over the weekend that asked family members and peers to help prevent homegrown violent extremism by learning to spot suspicious behaviors and report them to the FBI.
"We have to remember what the FBI did with President Trump's campaign and the spying that they did there," said Blackburn. "Tennesseans are very upset with what they see as a double standard with how the FBI and other federal agencies move forward."
She added that the FBI was itself "collecting information, or surveilling Trump campaign," so she has questions about asking people to file reports.
"Of course, everyone wants to do their part to keep our nation safe and to keep our communities safe, but to put this out and to encourage people to begin to snitch on their family members if they have a difference of opinion is something that is a little bit over the top," the senator said.
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