President-elect Trump threatens to ‘terminate’ new US-Cuba diplomatic ties

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points towards guests during an campaign event with employees at Trump National Doral, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points towards guests during an campaign event with employees at Trump National Doral, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President-elect Donald Trump is threatening to end the detente with Cuba initiated by the Obama administration.

Trump tweeted Monday he “will terminate” President Barack Obama’s reestablishment of diplomatic ties and normalization of relations if “Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole.”

But Trump’s warning could face opposition from some Republicans on Capitol Hill and corporate leaders who see continued engagement with Havana as good for American businesses and the best way to force the Cuban government to change.

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said this past weekend a “get tough” policy that isolates Havana and restricts travel and commerce will hurt the Cuban people and make the U.S. government “a convenient scapegoat for failed socialist policies.”

The White House says President Barack Obama isn’t worried about his successor reversing his detente with Cuba. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the policy has resulted in new economic ties, travel and business deals that make it very difficult to undo.

Earnest cited new daily commercial flights from the U.S. to the island, as well as a surge of other U.S. investment allowed under new regulations.

Earnest says reversing the policy would mean “a significant economic blow” to Cubans, and it is “not as easy as a stroke of a pen.”