President Obama—who has been heavily criticized for his statement on the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in which he offered condolences to the Castro family and omitted any mention of the brutality of his regime—has found an ally in socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday that he was okay with it and would have said something similar if he was president.
Bash, who was hosting State of the Union on Sunday, asked Sanders, “Is it appropriate for the leader of the free world to offer condolences of a brutal dictator who killed his own people, as well as Americans?”
Sanders responded by talking about the improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba, adding that we have relations with brutal dictatorships all over the world. He said that the goal is to continue to improve our relations with Cuba, to help improve their economy and make sure the younger generation does better than the older generation.
Bash then asked Sanders again about Obama’s condolences:
“So you’re okay with him offering condolences? If you were president, would you have said something similar?”
“Yeah, yes I would have,” Sanders said.
While Sanders’ response isn’t surprising, given his past praise for Castro and his socialist beliefs, Bash’s direct line of questioning was, given the liberal media’s decades-long lack of criticism of the Castro regime’s brutality.
Compare the difference in what Obama said versus what Trump said:
“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.
Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
Here is Trump’s statement:
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.
While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”
That would be welcome news to Cubans who have suffered greatly for nearly 60 years.