President Obama’s handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday was met with a mostly muted reaction from conservatives and Republicans. Invoking memories of the Munich Agreement, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) broke the right’s silence with a harsh assessment of the gesture.
“It gives Raul some propaganda to continue to prop up his dictatorial, brutal regime, that’s all,” McCain said of the handshake between the two world leaders that took place at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
When asked if Obama should have extended his hand, McCain was quick to respond.
“Of course not,” the senator said. “Why should you shake hands with somebody who’s keeping Americans in prison? I mean, what’s the point?”
Then, after a slight pause, McCain went there.
“Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler,” he added.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took a more mild jab at Obama for the handshake, arguing that the President could have at least asked Castro about human rights violations in Cuba.
Audio, via Todd Zwillich from The Takeaway radio program:
This post has been updated.