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After White House Said 'Absolutely No Plans' for Obama to Visit Cuba, Josh Earnest Now 'Wouldn't Rule It Out


"POTUS has absolutely no plans to travel to Cuba."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest hinted Wednesday that President Barack Obama is open to traveling to Cuba, even though the National Security Council signaled just weeks ago that a presidential visit was out of the question.

"The president did hint that there will be senior government officials who will carry out the kind of work that's indicative of two nations that are seeking to normalize their relations," Earnest said in response to questions about Obama's new policy changes toward Cuba.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 4.11.41 PM White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he wouldn't rule out a Cuba visit from President Barack Obama, a huge change in tone from just a few weeks ago.
Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

"So, I certainly wouldn't rule out a presidential visit," he added. "But I don't have anything to announce at this point."

While Earnest didn't say any specific trip had been planned at this point, his reply had some guessing that a trip was already being planned.

Earnest's tone was also entirely different from a late October tweet from the National Security Council, which was meant to respond to a story suggesting a visit was possible. The NSC tweet entirely shut down the idea of a visit to Cuba.

"POTUS has absolutely no plans to travel to Cuba," the NSC said. "Any reports to the contrary are uninformed and incorrect."

Obama's announcement included plans for a formal U.S. embassy in Cuba, eased trade and travel rules, and even an attempt to talk to Congress about lifting the embargo against Cuba.

But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he would do what he can to fight those plans, and said, "this Congress is not going to lift the embargo."

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