Texas Senator Ted Cruz promised to “reverse” United States President Barack Obama’s policy on Cuba during Tuesday’s Republican presidential candidate debate in Miami.
Branding the Cuban government an “anti-American, communist dictatorship,” Cruz compared the thawing of relations between Washington and Havana to the nuclear deal reached between the P5+1 powers, consisting of the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia plus Germany, and Iran.
IN DEPTH: War for the White House 2016
Agreeing with Cruz, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump promised he would “try to get a better deal with Cuba than Obama,” because all the U.S. is “doing now is giving and giving.”
Trump and Cruz locked horns alongside the other two Republican presidential candidates, Marco Rubio and John Kasich.
Foreign policy, immigration and reforms to education were at the forefront of the conversation, but the four appeared to shy away from heated confrontation ahead of the so-called “Super Tuesday 3,” where 350 delegates are up for grabs in several states.
#GOPDebate | Ted Cruz: "The Democrats support illegal immigration because they view those illegal immigrants as potential voters."— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 11, 2016
On the topic of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Cruz blasted the Obama administration. "I don’t think we need a commander-in-chief who is 'neutral' between the Palestinian terrorists and one of our strongest allies in the world."
It was an attack on Trump’s calls for “neutrality,” but the Republican frontrunner countered: "No one loves Israel more than me."
Tapper: — Did you mean all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world hate us?— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 11, 2016
Trump: —I mean a lot of them#GOPDebate
Hoping to build on his second-place lead, Cruz echoed Trump’s words on immigration.
"We need to reform our immigration system in order to stop the wave of low-qualified, low-remunerated workers to the U.S.; and second, in order to change the system of tolerance of illegal immigrants in this country,” he said.
Trump branded the U.S. education system a disaster, arguing it should be localized instead of run by bureaucrats in Washington.
Cruz went one step further by calling for the complete elimination of the nation’s Department of Education.
Trump also appeared to defend the escalating violence at his rallies, following another attack Thursday on a protester, this time featuring a 78-year-old man punching a Black activist in the face. "When (rally attendees) see what's going on in this country, they have anger ... They love this country… We have some protesters that are bad dudes. They have done bad things... They are really dangerous."
"We have some protesters that are bad dudes. They have done bad things... They are really dangerous."— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 11, 2016
The primaries next week include Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. Both Rubio and Kasich need to win their own states of Florida and Ohio, respectively, to keep their campaigns alive.