MIAMI — Mike Pence declared to a roomful of Miami Republicans on Friday night that the Trump administration would maintain the U.S. embargo against Cuba upon entering office.
“Let me make a promise to you: When Donald Trump and I take to the White House, we will reverse Barack Obama’s executive order on Cuba,” Pence said. “We will support a continuation of the embargo until we see real political freedom in that nation once and for all.”
The GOP vice presidential candidate’s statement echoes his running mate, who tweeted two days ago that he would “reverse” the Obama directives “until freedoms are restored.”
President Obama’s executive actions, in part, have lifted a series of restrictions on Cuba, opened a U.S. embassy in the country and established travel and business between the two nations. He issued additional directives on Friday to further loosen restrictions aimed at increasing trade with the island nation.
Pence’s visit to Miami — 25 days out from Election Day — was a signal to Cuban-Americans that the Republican ticket is committed to tough sanctions on the communist country. Older Cuban-American voters have long backed Republicans.
“Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would lift the embargo completely and normalize relations with Cuba for nothing in return,” Pence told the Doral County GOP at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
He continued: “The truth of the matter is if they could open it up all the way, they would."
Hillary Clinton, in fact, pronounced in 2015 at a campaign stop in Florida that the Cuban embargo should be eliminated by Congress.
The Indiana governor’s visit to the city coincided with apparent chaos for his ticket’s campaign with fewer than four weeks to go until the election. As Pence addressed the mild-mannered dinner crowd of about 300, Trump went sans teleprompter at a Charlotte rally.
The vice presidential nominee yet again defended his running mate against what Pence called “unsubstantiated allegations” in light of a series of women coming forward and asserting that Trump made unwanted sexual advances on them.
“It’s easy to lose sight of what this election is really about,” Pence said after chiding the media and the Clinton campaign. “It's about big things — things that impact every American.”