Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Vietnam War refugee, slammed Sen. Bernie Sanders for his comments over the weekend defending late communist Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
The Vermont senator and 2020 Democrat appeared in an interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday, and disavowed Castro’s brutal authoritarian tactics but credited him for advancing Cuban society.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but it’s unfair to say everything’s bad,” Sanders said. “When Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a literacy program.”
Murphy, a Democrat who represents a large swath of central Florida north of Orlando, ripped the remarks as tone-deaf.
“[Sanders’s] comments on Fidel Castro are ill-informed & insulting to thousands of Floridians. Castro was a murderous dictator who oppressed his own people,” Murphy tweeted Monday. “His “literacy program” wasn’t altruistic; it was a cynical effort to spread his dangerous philosophy & consolidate power.”
Sanders cemented his status as the Democratic presidential front-runner after a landslide win in the Nevada caucuses few days ago, which followed strong showings in New Hampshire and Iowa.
He has proposed an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare and financial system as part of his “political revolution.” President Trump has called Sanders “a communist.”
Murphy came to the U.S. in 1979, when she was just an infant, after her family fled communist-controlled Vietnam.
“Whether the subject is Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Israel or other foreign policy challenges, @SenSanders has consistently taken positions that are wrong on the merits and will alienate many Florida voters now and in the general election if he is nominated,” she said.