Politics

Sanders: No Regrets for Praising Castro

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) on Monday said during a Fox News town hall that he doesn't regret praising the deceased Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Sanders whether he regretted his praise of Castro's "literacy program" in an interview on 60 Minutes, since it appears those comments hurt him in subsequent primaries. Sanders replied, "No."

"Look, I have spent my entire life fighting for working people and fighting for democracy," Sanders said. "If you check my record, I have condemned authoritarianism, whether it is in the Soviet Union, whether it is in Cuba, whether it is in Saudi Arabia."

Sanders, who has fallen behind former vice president Joe Biden in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, attempted to blame the media for the backlash he received for praising Castro.

"I know it's hard given ‘gotcha' questions," Sanders said. "Given the media that we deal with and everything else, you say something and people can beat up on you. I think you've got to tell the truth. So, if in China they've reduced extreme poverty, does that make me a communist who supports China? No, I'm just telling you a simple fact."

Baier later brought up that some Democrats, including Rep. Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), criticized Sanders's praise of Castro, prompting him to say, "Of course they did."

"So what? I've got a lot of Democrats who are attacking me as well. You know that. Nothing new there," Sanders said.

Several Florida Democrats criticized Sanders after the 60 Minutes interview, saying his comments were "ill-informed" and "insulting to thousands of Floridians."

"Whether the subject is Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Israel or other foreign policy challenges, [Sanders] 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," Murphy said.

During the Cold War, Sanders praised Castro's Cuba and said he was "very excited and impressed by the Cuban Revolution." He said that while Cuba wasn't "perfect," it "solved some very important problems."