President Joe Biden’s post-State of the Union agenda appeared to take one Democratic senator off guard on Tuesday night.
After the address, Biden made his way through Democratic members, including California Representative Adam Schiff and New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez.
“Bob, I gotta to talk to you about Cuba,” Biden said.
BIDEN: "Bob, I gotta talk to you about Cuba."
BOB MENENDEZ: "Okay." pic.twitter.com/Px0jhtcSaZ
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) February 8, 2023
Menendez replied, “OK.”
“I’m serious,” Biden said.
“It looks like Biden wants to talk to someone about #Cuba,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted.
It looks like Biden wants to talk to someone about #Cuba pic.twitter.com/RO7r8xP0zI
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 8, 2023
It is unclear what Biden wishes to discuss with Menendez. The New Jersey senator is known to take a harsh line on the island country’s communist administration. Is Biden aiming for a deal to land the senator’s help in developing deeper connections to Havana? Or has Biden chosen to adopt a tougher stance?
Even Menendez appeared surprised, based on his noncommittal reaction.
Menendez, whose parents immigrated from Cuba, has had conflicts in the past with Biden about Cuba, according to the New Jersey Globe, an online political news site located in the Garden State.
Menendez rejected a 2013 move by the Biden administration that lifted restrictions on group excursions to the island nation.
“I am dismayed to learn the Biden administration will begin authorizing group travel to Cuba through visits akin to tourism,” Menendez said in a statement in May.
“To be clear, those who still believe that increasing travel will breed democracy in Cuba are simply in a state of denial. For decades, the world has been traveling to Cuba and nothing has changed. …
“For over sixty years, the tides of romanticism toward Cuba have come and gone, but they’ve always crashed hard against the rocks of reality. Today is another reminder that we must ground our policy in that reality, reaffirm our nation’s indiscriminate commitment to fight for democracy from Kyiv to Havana, and make clear we will measure our success in freedom and human rights and not money and commerce.”
More on this story via The Western Journal:
In August, Menendez and Rubio partnered on legislation that called upon the Biden administration to make a policy shift that would call for the extradition of suspected criminals and terrorists who have taken refuge in Cuba, according to a news release issued in August by Menendez’s Senate office.CONTINUE READING…