President-elect Donald Trump seems to have had trouble adequately reacting to the news that Fidel Castro died early Saturday morning.
While Trump took to Twitter to announce Castro’s death, he initially did not offer anything else beyond that.
Fidel Castro is dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2016
In the past, the President-elect publicly criticized President Barack Obama for making a “weak agreement” when he made the decision to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2014. While Trump has not said that he would cut ties with Cuba during his presidency, he has made vague comments about how U.S.-Cuba relations would be during his presidency.
Earlier this year, Trump claimed,
“I would do whatever you have to do to get a strong agreement. And people want an agreement, I like the idea of an agreement, but it has to be a real agreement. So if you call that for negotiation purposes, whatever you have to do to make a great deal for the people of Cuba.”
Later Saturday morning, Trump released a full statement:
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.
While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”
Mr. Trump’s rather late response — considering many other officials were quick to issue longer, more well-thought out statements very soon after news broke — highlighted the complicated legacy that Castro leaves behind.