Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio earned a thunderous applause at Thursday night’s GOP debate for an answer he delivered on Cuba.
The remarks from the Florida senator came after Trump expressed concern the U.S. could “get sued after the deal is made.”
“So I don’t agree with President Obama, I do agree something should be — should take place. After 50 years, it’s enough time, folks. But we have to make a good deal and we have to get rid of all the litigation that’s going to happen,” Trump said.
Rubio was given the opportunity to respond.
“All right, first of all, the embassy is the former consulate. It’s the same building. So it could just go back to being called a consulate. We don’t have to close it that way,” he said. “Second of all, I don’t know where Cuba is going to use, but if they sue us in a court in Miami, they’re going to lose.”
Rubio continued, “Third, on the issue of a good deal, I know what is a good deal. I’ll tell you what the good deal now, it’s already codified. Here’s a good deal: Cuba has free elections, Cuba stops putting people in jail for speaking out, Cuba has freedom of the press, Cuba kicks out the Russians from Lourdes and kicks out the Chinese listening station in Bejucal.”
“Cuba stops helping North Korea evade U.N. sanctions, Cuba takes all of those fugitives of America justice, including that cop killer from New Jersey, and send her back to the United States and to jail where she belongs,” he added.
Rubio concluded, “And you know what? Then we can have a relationship with Cuba. That’s a good deal.”
The senator received a rousing applause from the audience for the response.
According to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the remarks hit 95 percent with his focus group.
.@MarcoRubio’s response on Cuba hit 95% with my focus group.
Republicans want accountability from former enemies. #GOPDebate
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) March 11, 2016
Others also offered their thoughts:
Rubio home run w/ good deal with Cuba riff
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) March 11, 2016
The contrast between Rubio's fluency on the Cuba issue vs. Trump's was quite stark.
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) March 11, 2016
Biggest applause of the night, yet again, goes to Rubio. This time on Cuba.
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) March 11, 2016
I don't agree with Rubio's Cuba policy, but he does know things.
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) March 11, 2016
If they sue us in a court in Miami, they're going to lose – what a great short speech by Rubio on Cuba deal (Floridians gonna like it?)
— Dana Perino (@DanaPerino) March 11, 2016
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