Reince Priebus: Trump Would Reverse Obama’s Opening to Cuba Unless There Is ‘Movement’ from Cuba

By Melanie Arter | November 28, 2016 | 3:39pm EST
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (AP Photo)

( – Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told “Fox News Sunday” that President-elect Donald Trump intends to follow through with his campaign pledge to roll back President Barack Obama’s opening of relations with Cuba unless there is “movement in the right direction” from the communist nation.

“Absolutely,” Priebus said, when asked whether if Trump “doesn’t get whatever it is that he wants” he would “reverse President Obama’s opening to Cuba.”

“I mean, he's already said that that would be the case,” Priebus added. “I mean -- and what that deal is, is yet to be determined, but there is going to have to be some movement from Cuba in order to have a relationship with the United States, and I think the president-elect has been very clear about that and I’m just restating that position.”

Priebus said Trump has been “pretty clear” that “there is nothing wrong with talking to people.”

“He's been willing to talk to anybody, but we've got to have a better deal. We're not going to have a unilateral deal coming from Cuba back to the United States without some changes in their government,” Priebus said.

“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's going to head. Talking is fine, but action is something that will be required under President Trump,” he added.

“So, let me make sure I have this clear, because he's calling basically for a revolution in Cuba, full political freedom, full religious freedom, releasing all the political prisoners. If he doesn't get that, he is going to reverse President Obama's executive orders?” host Chris Wallace asked.

“No, I didn't say that, Chris. I said that those were -- that's the suffering that's happening now in Cuba,” Priebus said. “But I do believe that in order for any sort of deal to take place, President-elect Trump is going to be looking for some movement in the right direction in order to have any sort of deal with Cuba. 

“I mean, it can't just be nothing and then you get total and complete cooperation from the United States. There has to be something, and what that something is, Chris, is yet to be determined, but I can assure you that he's going to require some movement or some schedule of movement in order to then schedule some kind of relationship with Cuba,” Priebus said.  

“But without knowing what those things are, there's nothing really more to talk about other than there isn't going to be a one-way relationship from the United States to Cuba without some action from the Castro administration,” he said.

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