MIAMI (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Florida on Thursday to rally Hispanic voters by highlighting President Donald Trump’s record opposing socialist leaders across Latin America.
Pence told them their support before and on Nov. 3 is crucial in the battleground state to secure Trump’s reelection. About 2.4 million Latinos are registered to vote for the 2020 presidential election in Florida — about 17% of the state’s total, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Florida state government data.
A few hundred Trump supporters from various countries gathered at the Cuban Memorial in Miami’s Tamiami Park to cheer for Pence as he criticized Democratic nominee Joe Biden for being part of former President Barack Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba in 2014.
“When Joe Biden was vice president, America appeased the Castro regime with concession after concession,” Pence said noting Obama “literally stood hand in hand with Raul Castro,” prompting boos from the audience. “President Trump brought eight years of appeasement to an end and President Donald Trump will only stand hand in hand with you.”
Pence said the Trump administration will not lift sanctions until Cuba releases all political prisoners, and rights to free expression, assembly and elections are respected.
For the past four years, Trump has been taking steps to reinstate an economic blockade of Cuba and reverse Obama’s thaw with the Caribbean island.
Pence also spoke about the White House sanctions on Venezuelan officials and said the Trump administration more recently called on the Colombian judiciary to release former president Alvaro Uribe from house arrest while he is investigated for possible witness tampering.
“Estamos con ustedes,” Pence said in Spanish for “we are with you.”
Biden has also been courting Hispanic voters and has visited the state three times in the past month. During a Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff event in Kissimmee last month, Biden argued he would be a better president for Hispanics than Trump, touting his commitment to immigration reform and a new plan to support Puerto Rico’s economy.
On Thursday, Pence also praised Trump for promptly nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
He also said voters deserve to know whether Biden plans to add seats to the Supreme Court. The Democratic candidate has said he is “not a fan of court packing,” but has not elaborated on his plans for the top court.