The White House is in full spin mode attempting to explain President Obama’s handshake with Cuban leader Raul Castro at Tuesday’s memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
However, Cuban-American lawmakers are none to pleased, including U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who said the leader of the free world should have ignored the “bloody hand of a ruthless dictator,” “thug” like Castro, not greeted him.
Ros-Lehtinen appeared a couple of times on Fox News Tuesday, saying at one point that she found the handshake “nauseating.”
Ros-Lehtinen told Megyn Kelly that she wanted to “force” Secretary of State John Kerry to admit that Castro is a dictator and that U.S. policy toward Cuba was not changing, which is why she questioned him on the handshake during the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
The Cuban-born lawmaker held up photos of the president with Castro and asked Kerry:
Mr. Secretary, sometimes a handshake is just a handshake. But when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant. Raul Castro uses that hand to sign the orders to repress and jail democracy advocates.
Could you please tell the Cuban people living under that the repressive regime that, a handshake notwithstanding, the U.S. policy toward the cruel and sadistic Cuban dictatorship has not weakened?
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also issued a statement on the handshake saying, “If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba,” Fox News reported.
Watch Ros-Lehtinen on “The Kelly File:”
Watch Ros-Lehtinen question Kerry here:
Video: When World Leaders Get All Touchy-Feely – TIME Magazine