While Donald Trump’s adoring Cuban-American supporters were rallying around him hurling epithets of “Communist!” to those who disagreed with them, guess what The Donald was doing in Miami, capital of Cuban exiles?
He was calling in the Russians.
Yep, Trump publicly asked for campaign help from the same world power that helped Fidel and Raúl Castro consolidate power, that brought the U.S. and the world to the brink of World War III, that is now led by another strongman, Vladimir Putin. He, who flies intimidating aircraft close to American ships, invaded Crimea, takes repressive actions against his people — and is still chummy with the Castro brothers.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton] emails that are missing,” Trump said Wednesday before a room full of media at the Trump National Doral.
It was vintage Trump: ignorant of the basics of governance and geopolitics. Faced with tremendous backlash for essentially encouraging espionage, he changed his tone, telling Fox News that he was just “being sarcastic.”
But imagine another candidate baiting a foreign power to use its hacking abilities to break into the correspondence of the former secretary of state. To Trump, it’s fair game because he’s running against Clinton and his interest to unearth dirt pales in comparison to national security.
Imagine if it had been Clinton who called on the Russians to hack Trump when she was in Miami last weekend. ¡Comunista!
But there’s a bigger smoking gun that could put the GOP nominee at odds with his hard-line Cuban-American base: Going into business with the Cuban government. The Cuban Americans who support Trump detest President Barack Obama’s restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and anything that smells of trading with the enemy.
But despite the U.S. embargo, Trump has been sending close aides to Cuba for the last three to four years, well before Obama announced his policy change, to scout potential sites for a golf course and other investment opportunities, according to a report in this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek.
The headline: “Did Donald Trump’s Executives Violate the Cuban Embargo? Golfing with the enemy.” The report is illustrated with Facebook photos of Trump executives traveling and golfing in Cuba’s only golf course on the confiscated 1930s estate of chemical magnate Irenee du Pont, now the Varadero Golf Club.
In the 1990s, after the Soviet Union subsidies ended, the Cuban government turned the estate into an 18-hole golf course, and the stately residence, with gorgeous views of the Florida Straits, into a clubhouse. But despite the natural beauty, the club and course are not nice enough for Trumpian tastes, so Trump smelled opportunity. His people visited to try to beat any potential competitors.
So what if, before and after they elect him, Trump has to turn his back on his Cuban-American fans — the only group of Hispanics in the United States supporting him in any significant number? He’s Trump. To make money he’ll steamroll right over what his hard-line Cuban-American supporters hold closest to their hearts: the most worthy of causes, a Cuba without the Castros.
The Bloomberg story didn’t surprise me.
I first heard about Trump’s people traveling to Cuba more than a year ago, when a well-known, wealthy Miami Cuban-American Republican told me during an interview on another subject.
When the thought of a Trump candidacy was unimaginable, he told me that he sailed to Cuba in his yacht with a Trump associate who had been welcomed with open arms on the island.
Ah, presidential elections, they give us the opportunity to swim in treacherous waters — but none more infested with sharks than the historical Trump vs. Clinton contest. The profoundly ignorant wade right in — and opportunists like Trump don’t even need to hold real values to lead the polls.
Trump will stick it to his Cuban-American supporters the same way he attacked with vengeance his Cuban-American opponents Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the campaign trail. Because he can, because he wants to, because he will eventually get around to offending and wounding all groups.
Meanwhile, Trump’s Cuban-American supporters await juicier Democratic Party material from WikiLeaks and praise its founder, Julian Assange, exiled in London — to avoid facing rape accusations in Sweden — at the embassy of Ecuador, another government that supports the Castro dictatorship.
It would be fodder for comedy if it weren’t all so sad.