Lordy

Lordy, I hope... well, a lot of things...

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Daily Combover - June 16, 2017

Scene: Miami, Florida
Topic: Cuba



Today Trump attacked another one of President Obama's achievements -- the normalization of relations with Cuba. Remarks below:

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you very much.  Great honor.  And thank you to my truly great friend, Vice President Mike Pence -- he’s terrific.  (Applause.)  And thank you to Miami.  We love Miami.  
Let me start by saying that I’m glad Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and I, along with a very talented team, were able to get Otto Warmbier back with his parents.  (Applause.)  What’s happened to him is a truly terrible thing, but at least the ones who love him so much can now take care of him and be with him.
I'd love to hear Trump explain exactly what happened to Mr. Warmbier. Because while his parents are probably happy to have him back, he's a comatosed shell. Where's the tough guy response that he promised on the trail?
Also, my dear friend, Steve Scalise, took a bullet for all of us.  And because of him, and the tremendous pain and suffering he’s now enduring -- he’s having a hard time, far worse than anybody thought -- our country will perhaps become closer, more unified.  So important.  
So we all owe Steve a big, big thank you.  And let’s keep the Warmbier family, and the Scalise family, and all of the victims of the congressional shooting, in our hearts and prayers.  And it was quite a day and our police officers were incredible, weren’t they?  They did a great job.  (Applause.)    
He took a bullet for all of us? What's that supposed to mean? If you want us to become unified, push for background checks -- you know the gun safety thing that has over 90% support?
And let us all pray for a future of peace, unity and safety for all of our people.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  And for Cuba.
I am so thrilled to be back here with all of my friends in Little Havana.  (Applause.)  I love it.  I love this city.  
...
Clipping out the back-and-forth lovefest between Trump and a deplorable.
We are delighted to be joined by so many friends and leaders of our great community.  I want to express our deep gratitude to a man who has really become a friend of mine -- and I want to tell you, he is one tough competitor -- Senator Marco Rubio.  (Applause.)  Great guy.  (Applause.)  He is tough, man.  He is tough and he’s good, and he loves you.  He loves you.
Little Marco has grown up?
And I listened to another friend of mine, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart -- (applause) -- and I’ll tell you, I loved what he said, and I appreciate it.  Mario, I appreciated what you said so much.  In fact I was looking for Mario.  I wanted to find him -- they said he was onstage.  I almost dragged him off the stage to thank him, but now I’m thanking you anyway.  Thank you, Mario.  That was great.  Really appreciate it.  
For those of you new to Trump's speeches, he always names names and the people are never there. It would be comical if it wasn't sad thinking that he's supposed to be leading us and yet is in a constant battle with his dementia.
And I also want to thank my good friend, and just a man who was of tremendous support in the state of Florida, for being with us -- Governor Rick Scott.  (Applause.)  Great job.  He’s doing a great job.  I hope he runs for the Senate.  I know I’m not supposed to say that.  I hope he runs for the Senate.  Rick, are you running?  (Applause.)  I don’t know.  Marco, let’s go, come on.  We got to get him to -- I hope he runs for the Senate. 
Rick Scott hasn't cracked 50% in a poll since he first took office. Then again he is polling ten points higher than Trump...
...
More overly gratuitous hellos were clipped out. Let's get to the speech:
Last year, I promised to be a voice against repression in our region -- remember, tremendous oppression -- and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people.  You heard that pledge.  You exercised the right you have to vote.  You went out and you voted.  And here I am like I promised -- like I promised.  (Applause.)
I promised you -- I keep my promises.  Sometimes in politics, they take a little bit longer, but we get there.  We get there.  Don't we get there?  You better believe it, Mike.  We get there.  (Laughter.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  No, we keep our promise.
And now that I am your President, America will expose the crimes of the Castro regime and stand with the Cuban people in their struggle for freedom.  Because we know it is best for America to have freedom in our hemisphere, whether in Cuba or Venezuela, and to have a future where the people of each country can live out their own dreams.  (Applause.)
This speech feels like something that should have been given in the late-1950's.
For nearly six decades, the Cuban people have suffered under communist domination.  To this day, Cuba is ruled by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens, who sought to spread their repressive and failed ideology throughout our hemisphere, and who once tried to host enemy nuclear weapons 90 miles from our shores.
Hey Google, do you have something to tell Trump?

With that out of the way, let's continue:
The Castro regime has shipped arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela.  While imprisoning innocents, it has harbored cop killers, hijackers, and terrorists.  It has supported human trafficking, forced labor, and exploitation all around the globe.  This is the simple truth of the Castro regime. (Applause.)
My administration will not hide from it, excuse it, or glamorize it.  And we will never, ever be blind to it.  We know what's going on and we remember what happened.  (Applause.)
Yes, Cuba had a dark past. But Castro is dead and it's time to help them move on from that past. We enslaved millions of Africans and slaughtered countless millions of Native Americans. Should we be cast away from the world as a pariah as well?
On my recent trip overseas, I said the United States is adopting a principled realism, rooted in our values, shared interests, and common sense.  I also said countries should take greater responsibility for creating stability in their own regions.  It's hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration’s terrible and misguided deal with the Castro regime.  (Applause.)  Well, you have to say, the Iran deal was pretty bad also.  Let's not forget that beauty.
So you're admitting that this is really about President Obama and not really about Cuba?
They made a deal with a government that spreads violence and instability in the region and nothing they got -- think of it -- nothing they got -- they fought for everything and we just didn’t fight hard enough.  But now those days are over.  Now we hold the cards.  We now hold the cards.  (Applause.) 
The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people -- they only enrich the Cuban regime.  (Applause.)  The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military.  The regime takes the money and owns the industry.  The outcome of the last administration’s executive action has been only more repression and a move to crush the peaceful, democratic movement.
Another big fat lie. Cuba has slashed its military spending by 300% over the past two decades.
Therefore, effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.  (Applause.) 
#WhenTrumpGoesToJail I will personally mail him a Cuban flag.
I am announcing today a new policy, just as I promised during the campaign, and I will be signing that contract right at that table in just a moment. 
Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America.  We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba.
Our new policy begins with strictly enforcing U.S. law.  (Applause.)  We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.  Elections.  (Applause.) 
We will very strongly restrict American dollars flowing to the military, security and intelligence services that are the core of Castro regime.  They will be restricted.  We will enforce the ban on tourism.  We will enforce the embargo.  We will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people, so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country’s great, great future -- a country of great potential.  (Applause.) 
So we're embargoing them and blocking major streams of revenue but they're supposed to open private businesses? Counter-intuitive doesn't even begin to tell the story.
My action today bypasses the military and the government, to help the Cuban people themselves form businesses and pursue much better lives.  We will keep in place the safeguards to prevent Cubans from risking their lives to unlawful travel to the United States.  They are in such danger the way they have to come to this country, and we are going to be safeguarding those people.  We have to.  We have no choice.  We have to.  (Applause.) 
The embargo caused so much awful for the Cuban people during the first 50+ years so let's go right back to it again!
And we will work for the day when a new generation of leaders brings this long reign of suffering to an end.  And I do believe that end is in the very near future.  (Applause.) 
We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement that is in the best interests of both their people and our people and also of Cuban Americans.
To the Cuban government, I say:  Put an end to the abuse of dissidents.  Release the political prisoners.  Stop jailing innocent people.  Open yourselves to political and economic freedoms.  Return the fugitives from American justice -- including the return of the cop-killer Joanne Chesimard.  (Applause.) 
And finally, hand over the Cuban military criminals who shot down and killed four brave members of Brothers to the Rescue who were in unarmed, small, slow civilian planes.  (Applause.)  
Those victims included Mario de la Pena, Jr., and Carlos Costa.  We are honored to be joined by Mario’s parents, Miriam and Mario, and Carlos’s sister, Mirta.  Where are you?  (Applause.)  Those are great, great parents who love their children so much.  What they've done is just an incredible, incredible thing -- what they represent -- they did not die in vain -- what they represent to everybody, and especially to the Cuban people.  So your children did not die in vain, believe me.  (Applause.) 
So to the Castro regime, I repeat:  The harboring of criminals and fugitives will end.  You have no choice.  It will end.  (Applause.) 
Trump really has no idea how diplomacy works. No wonder every major world leader openly mocks him.
Any changes to the relationship between the United States and Cuba will depend on real progress toward these and the other goals, many of which I’ve described.  When Cuba is ready to take concrete steps to these ends, we will be ready, willing, and able to come to the table to negotiate that much better deal for Cubans, for Americans.  Much better deal and a deal that's fair.  A deal that's fair and a deal that makes sense.  
Our embassy remains open in the hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better path.  America believes that free, independent, and sovereign nations are the best vehicle for human happiness, for health, for education, for safety, for everything.  We all accept that all nations have the right to chart their own paths -- and I’m certainly a very big believer in that -- so we will respect Cuban sovereignty.  But we will never turn our backs on the Cuban people.  That will not happen.  (Applause.) 
So we're shutting it all down except for the embassy? I guess he's having his chocolate cake and eating it too. And eating Cuba's while he's at it.
Over the years, a special sympathy has grown between this land of the free, and the beautiful people of that island, so close to our shores and so deeply woven into the history of our region.  America has rejected the Cuban people’s oppressors.  They are rejected.  Officially today, they are rejected.  (Applause.)  And to those people, America has become a source of strength, and our flag a symbol of hope. 
I can't wait until we can reject him and his klan of oppressors.

I'm clipping the tangential story that follows and heading to the conclusion:
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So I want to thank Miami.  I want to thank Little Havana.  Havana, we love.  Do we love it?  Would you move anywhere else?  You wouldn't move to Palm Beach, would you?  No.  No way.  Little Havana.
And I want to thank all of our great friends here today.  You've been amazing, loyal, beautiful people.  And thank you.  Don't remind me.  Actually, I was telling Mike, so it was two days -- on my birthday -- until a big day, which turned out to be tomorrow -- the 16th.  That was the day I came down with Melania on the escalator at Trump Tower.  That's tomorrow.  (Applause.)  So it's exactly tomorrow -- two years since we announced.  And it worked out okay.  Worked out okay.  (Applause.)  It's a great honor.  Believe me, it's a great honor.  Right?
AUDIENCE:  (Sings Happy Birthday.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.
I just want to end by saying may God bless everyone searching for freedom.  May God bless Cuba.  May God bless the United States of America.  And God bless you all.  Thank you.  Now I'm going to sign.  Thank you.
I'm not sure there's going to be anything left to salvage when he's done dismantling a century of foreign policy developments. What Trump is doing to the State Department may take a generation to repair.

Have a great weekend.

Catch you on the flip side.