Sen. Marco Rubio slammed former President Barack Obama’s Cuba outreach on Friday as he previewed President Trump’s policy overhaul in Miami, Fla.
Rubio said that Trump was welcomed by “dissidents” as he came down the steps from Air Force One on Friday in Miami, as opposed to Obama, who met with the Cuban government on a trip last March.
“Less than a year and a half ago, an American president landed in Havana greeted by a regime,” Rubio said. “A year and a half ago, an American president landed in Havana to outstretch his hand to a regime—today, a new president lands in Miami to reach out his hand to the people of Cuba.”
Rubio stood by the Trump administration’s efforts and commitment to “do whatever it takes” to “empower” the Cuban people. Rubio said the “cooperation, the commitment, the hard work” from the administration toward Cuba has “no precedent.”
The Trump administration’s new policy would restrict U.S. companies from doing business with Cuban ventures controlled by their military and strictly enforce rules on Americans traveling to the Communist nation.
Rubio was an outspoken critic of Obama’s Cuba policy.
Rubio, who spoke in both Spanish and English, told the crowd Friday that one of the first conversations he had with Trump after winning the election was on Cuba. Rubio campaigned against Trump in the Republican presidential primaries.
Rubio’s speech inspired chants of “USA” throughout the facility.
“This will punish the Cuban military—this change empowers the people of Cuba,” Rubio said of Trump’s new Cuba policy.
Rubio added: “Whether it’s in six months or six years, Cuba will be free.”
Fox News’ Serafin Gomez, Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.