President-elect Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said that Trump will reverse President Barack Obama’s executive orders restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba unless the Cuban government agrees to additional reforms.
“We’re not going to have a unilateral deal coming from Cuba back to the United States without some changes in their government ― repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners. These things need to change in order to have open and free relationships. And that’s what President-elect Trump believes and that’s where he is going to head,” Priebus told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.
Wallace pressed Priebus on the matter, asking whether he meant that Trump would stop at nothing short of a revolution in Cuba before agreeing to preserve the new ties. Priebus clarified that revolution would not be necessary, but that Trump would “absolutely” roll back Obama’s bilateral economic and diplomatic reconciliation with Cuba if there are not new concessions from Raul Castro’s government.
“There has to be something. And what that something is, Chris, has yet to be determined,” Priebus said. “But I can assure you he is going to require some movement or some schedule of movement in order to then schedule some kind of relationship with Cuba.”
During his campaign, Trump appealed to hardline Cuban-American voters in South Florida with promises to get tougher on the Castro regime. On Saturday, Trump acknowledged some of those voters in his comments on the death of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro. His statement was notably harsher in its criticism of the Cuban government than Obama’s remarks on Castro’s death.