Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to undo President Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba, but after a month in office the Republican hasn’t done much and Florida Gov. Rick Scott has offered to help.
“I’ve been very vocal that Raúl Castro does not believe in democracy and freedom and things like that,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s good for our country to be coddling a dictator like that. So I’m going to work with the Trump administration on what’s the right policy.”
Scott said he is hopeful Trump will soon renegotiate with Cuba and he sounded confident that Trump would do so. However, the Florida governor didn’t want to specify what approach he would advise the Trump administration to take.
“My impression is they’re working on what they are going to do, so I don’t want to second-guess what they’re going to do,” he said. “I want to be helpful.”
During the presidential campaign, Trump’s position on Cuba evolved from offering tepid support for the current arrangement with the island to promising in the end that he’d scuttle Obama’s deal. But so far, nothing has happened.
Trump’s relationship came under extra scrutiny during the campaign after Newsweek reported that one of his companies subverted the embargo of the island by funding a consultant’s trip to Cuba to explore gambling opportunities in the late 1990s. The trip came to nothing as did Trump’s efforts recently to examine a golf course development.
In contrast to Trump, Scott has aimed to aggressively close off business with Cuba. Despite renewed ties between the U.S. and Castro’s government, Scott threatened to withhold money from Florida ports that sought business deals with the island.
Port Everglades and Port Palm Beach, located in Riviera, Florida, were both scheduled to sign memorandums of understanding with Cuba in January, but they backed off after Scott tweeted his opposition Jan. 25.