Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden attempted to make a direct appeal to Florida’s Cuban and Venezuelan voters who have traditionally supported Republicans for president by attacking President Trump’s Cuba policy.
Speaking at a drive-in rally in Broward County on Thursday, Biden is attempting to counter the Trump campaign attacks that painted the former vice president a socialist enabler by calling the president “the worst possible standard-bearer for democracy.”
“President Trump can’t advance democracy and human rights for the Cuban people or the Venezuelan people, for that matter when he has embraced so many autocrats around the world,” Biden said. Trump is the worst possible standard-bearer for democracy in places like Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea. For my entire career, I’ve stood for democracy and human rights.”
“Folks, it unconscionable that the Trump administration says it cares so much are deporting hundreds of Cubans and Venezuelans back to their dictatorships,” he added. “Trump loves to talk, but he doesn’t care about Cuban and Venezuelan people.”
Biden slammed Trump Cuba policy, as an “approach that isn’t working” and failed to bring the socialist country “closer to freedom and democracy.”
“We have to vote for new Cuba policy as well,” Biden said. “This administration approach isn’t working. Cuba’s no closer to freedom and democracy today than it was four years ago. In fact, there are more political prisoners and secret police are as brutal as ever. And Russia once again is a major presence in Havana. So much for his policy.”
The former Vice President did not outline any the new Cuba policy during Thursday brief rally but has stated in past teleprompter remarks that he would return to the Obama-era policy.
Trump has made Cuba a central piece of his foreign policy since becoming elected, with his administration’s having a hardline approach by reversing Obama-era policies that had allowed limited travel and trade to the island after decades of embargoes.
Biden is underperforming with Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade, the largest county in the state, as well as with Latino voters across Florida, according to recent polling. The Hispanic population in Florida make up about a quarter of the state’s roughly 21.5 million population and 17% of its registered voters.
Florida’s sizable and diverse Latino population are key-blocs Biden is trying to win over as warning signs show voter turnout in Miami-Dade, the state’s largest county of 1.5 million voters is lagging. Over 300,000 Republicans had already turned out to vote before Biden’s visit to Florida with two-thirds of those being Cuban-American. In Broward County, the bluest county of Florida, around 61% of registered Democrats have voted so far, compared to approximately 56% of registered Republicans.
Biden sounded the alarm along the lines by pleading with Floridians.
“The heart and soul of this country’s at stake right here in Florida. You hold the key. If Florida goes blue, it’s over,” Biden said.
Following his early afternoon event in Coconut Creek, the former vice president is traveling to Tampa to hold a campaign rally – right on the heels of President Trump’s own visit to the city.
According to RealClearPolitics, Biden leading by 1.6 percentage points with 48.5% to Trump 46.9% in Florida polls.