MN lawmakers irked by Trump Cuba plan

klobuchar and smith
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith discuss the need for improved relations with Cuba during an airport news conference. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

Members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation criticized President Trump Friday for reinstating restrictions on business and travel in Cuba.

The complaints were bipartisan.

Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer said he was “extremely disappointed” with the president’s announcement. Emmer said Trump was rolling back progress on improving U.S.-Cuba relations and making America less safe.

“Today’s announcement creates a very real security risk for the American people and our homeland by inviting foreign nations into our backyard to fill a void that today’s announcement is creating,” Emmer said.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said the announcement was a setback. But she said bipartisan efforts will continue to lift both the travel ban and the embargo.

“We don’t want to turn our backs on the people,” Klobuchar said. “The government is a problem. They have human rights violations. But by the way, so do these countries that President Trump has been touting.”

Klobuchar spoke at an airport news conference highlighting Lt. Gov. Tina Smith’s trade delegation trip to Cuba next week.

Democratic Congressman Tim Walz said the president’s action will hurt, national interests, the interests of farmers and the Cuban people.

“Increased engagement with Cuba by U.S. citizens, companies, and the nongovernmental sector holds extraordinary promise,” Walz said. “This President’s Cuba policy is shortsighted and misguided. I strongly urge him to reconsider.”