Trump: 'Obama Should Have Turned the Plane Around and Left'

By Susan Jones | March 21, 2016 | 6:39am EDT
President Barack Obama, wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha and the first lady's mother Marian Robinson take a walking tour of Old Havana in the rain, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - Donald Trump told a rally in Palm Beach, Florida on Sunday that President Obama should have returned to the United States when the president of Cuba failed to greet him at the airport when he arrived.

Trump called it "amateur hour."

"So President Obama landed in Cuba, and the head of Cuba, who was there for the pope and he was there for other dignitaries that come in, but he wasn't there for the president of the United States. I mean, we are amateur hour, folks -- amateur hour!

"And honestly, Obama should have turned the plane around and left. No, he should have. He should have turned it around, should have said bye-bye...we'll see you in a couple of years, maybe a couple of decades."

Trump explained how he thinks things should have worked:

"Number one, he has his people call up, say, 'Who's going to be greeting the president?' If they say nobody -- you don't go until somebody's there because you don't want to look like a fool."

The Associated Press noted that "Obama was greeted by top Cuban officials," but not Raul Castro.

"Can you imagine if I were in that position and I landed and nobody was there?" Trump asked. "They would say, Donald Trump must be incompetent to allow a thing like this to happen."

(The White House later said it was not offended that Castro didn't greet Obama at the airport. Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, says it was "never contemplated or discussed" that Castro would be at the airport. He said the Cubans consider Monday morning's ceremony with Obama and Castro to be the official welcome event.)

"This is a historic visit and a historic opportunity," Obama told the staff at the new U.S. Embassy in Havana. 

Later, the president, his wife, two daughters and Michelle's mother toured Old Havana by foot, in the rain: "They walked gingerly on the slippery wet stones in the square in front of the Havana Cathedral. A few hundred people gathered in the square erupted in applause and shouted Obama's name as the first family stepped forward," the Associated Press reported.

"The Obamas then dined at a privately-owned restaurant in a bustling, working class neighborhood. Jubilant crowds surged toward the president's heavily fortified motorcade as it inched through the San Cristobal (district)."

Obama is scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro on Monday.

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