Well, there went Florida.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-avowed socialist and now Democratic frontrunner, saw fit to praise the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro on national television.
Appearing on “60 Minutes,” Sanders pointed to literacy programs by the murderous tyrant to say that “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad.”
In the segment, anchor Anderson Cooper runs a clip from the 1980s, saying Sanders “is explaining why the Cuban people didn’t rise up and help the US overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.”
“He educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society, you know?” Sanders is heard saying in the clip.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” the Vermont senator told Cooper. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Bernie Sanders defends his 1980s comments about Fidel Castro in an interview on 60 Minutes. https://t.co/ySqvQKoiBU pic.twitter.com/lTwuXWp9sA
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 24, 2020
Almost surprisingly, Cooper noted that there were “a lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.”
“That’s right, and we condemn that,” Sanders replied, before pivoting away from the issue to launch an attack on President Trump.
The fallout from the remarks was immediate and came from all sides.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whose parents were born in Cuba and fled their homeland ahead of Castro’s bloody reign, set the record straight on why the Cuban people didn’t help the US.
Taking to Twitter, Rubio said Sanders was “wrong about why people didn’t overthrow Castro. It’s not because ‘he educated their kids, gave them health care’ it‘s because his opponents were jailed, murdered or exiled.”
Likely Dem nominee praised the supposed “achievements” Castro regime
And he’s wrong about why people didn’t overthrow Castro. It’s not because “he educated their kids,gave them health care” it‘s because his opponents were jailed,murdered or exiled https://t.co/6i41w7zcDe
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2020
Rubio also exposed the tactics employed by communists to get people on board.
“The central promise every Marxist makes is that if we give up some of our individual freedom, the state will provide us more ‘security’ like free health care & education. But ultimately Marxism fails to deliver ‘security’ & you don’t have the freedom to do anything about it.” he tweeted.
The central promise every Marxist makes is that if we give up some of our individual freedom,the state will provide us more “security” like free health care & education.
But ultimately Marxism fails to deliver “security” & you don’t have the freedom to do anything about it. https://t.co/vNdHDNmS6d
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2020
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose father was born in Cuba, sarcastically said: “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write.”
It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write. https://t.co/4DKbSKpI6t
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 24, 2020
Even Democrats like Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., who represents Miami, tore into Sanders.
The former Clinton administration Health and Human Services secretary said in a tweet: “I’m hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro.”
I’m hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro. https://t.co/Iwvmay9LOH pic.twitter.com/KT9sQ0pfkh
— Donna E. Shalala (@DonnaShalala) February 24, 2020
But former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino may have provided the most telling commentary on Sanders.
“This fraud, phony, snake ? oil salesman doesn’t belong within 1,000 miles of any position of power. He’s dangerous. You’ve been warned,” Bongino tweeted.
This fraud, phony, snake ? oil salesman doesn’t belong within 1,000 miles of any position of power. He’s dangerous. You’ve been warned. https://t.co/DaqWW9DK7G
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) February 24, 2020
In the end, it was the impact Sanders words will likely have in the critical swing state of Florida that took precedence. Far and wide, the response was that if Sanders is the Democrat nominee, the party just lost Florida.
Here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:
Welcome to Florida. https://t.co/oXWqUKe4pN
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) February 24, 2020
That’s the sound of Bernie’s Latino voter wave crashing on the shores of Miami https://t.co/FwN64IOlY7
— David Smiley (@NewsbySmiley) February 24, 2020
I lived in South Florida for most of my life. Sanders embracing Fidel Castro is a sure loser. Castro’s name is toxic there. After this blunder and if Sanders is our nominee, kiss Florida goodbye & all down ballot races will be lost. Dems better wake up quick or it’s Trump again.
— scjr (@scjr14312) February 24, 2020
Just looking at Fidel Castro’s image brought tears to my eyes. It made me remember the horrible persecution faced by my own family in Cuba. I simply can’t imagine a candidate for president embracing Castro. I’m a proud Cuban American. ?? Shame on Bernie! ? https://t.co/bfEHEg2Bt4
— Robert Cooper ? (@RobertCooper58) February 24, 2020
I guess these people and the 2 million others who have fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba never got the message about that “literary campaign” Bernie Sanders was raving about on 60 Minutes tonight. pic.twitter.com/BaoTTX1Isa
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) February 24, 2020
There goes Florida—guess he doesn’t feel he needs it.
— Sam R ???️? (@flickr2754) February 24, 2020
Bernie Sanders has already lost Florida in the general election.
Nominate him at your own peril. I will have no part in it.
— Angela Merkel’s Enthusiasm (@PelosiSquadXVII) February 24, 2020
In an effort to win the state of Florida, Bernie Sanders just went on 60 Minutes and… praised Fidel Castro?
Wait, does he understand how badly this plays with Cuban-American voters? Is he trying to LOSE Florida?
Who’s Bernie going to praise next, Jack the Ripper?
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) February 24, 2020
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