Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., says Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador attempted to blackmail President Joe Biden into including dictators of countries from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua to be invited to the Summit of the Americas.
"I think President López Obrador basically tried to blackmail President Biden into insisting countries that are not democratic, countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua ... that have dictators and despots," Menendez told MSNBC's José Díaz-Balart.
"I applaud President Biden for upholding the standard of the Summit to be a summit of democracies," said Menendez, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
López Obrador took swipes at Cuban-American Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Menéndez during a regular press conference Wednesday morning, piling on from criticism lobbed in recent days.
López Obrador has accused the three senators, and other Cubans living in the United States, of wielding power to continue the United States' embargo on Cuba.
The president cited Cuba on Monday as part of his reasons for not attending the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas this week, as the nation, along with Venezuela and Nicaragua, were not invited due to concerns over human rights violations.
Rubio tweeted about López Obrador in Spanish on Tuesday, saying: "Glad to see that the Mexican president, who has handed over sections of his country to drug cartels and is an apologist for tyranny in Cuba, a murderous dictator in Nicaragua and a drug trafficker in Venezuela, will not be in the U.S. this week."
López Obrador addressed the tweet on Wednesday, denying drug cartel issues in Mexico and, instead, hurling criticism at the three senators.
"I want proof," he said. "Because I have proof that [Ted Cruz] has received money from those in favor of gun manufacturing in the United States [to lobby against] a ban on sales."
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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