Congressman Slams President Obama for Attending Baseball Game in Cuba After Brussels Attacks

At a hearing about closing Guantanamo Bay, Rep. Salmon criticizes the president.

ByABC News
March 23, 2016, 3:27 PM

— -- A Republican congressman railed on President Obama for taking in a baseball game in Cuba Tuesday in the wake of the terror attacks in Belgium.

Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon lamented to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Obama's appearance at the game was just hours after the attacks on the Brussels airport and metro system that killed at least 31 people. ISIS has taken responsibility for the bombings.

Salmon also said that Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group were in attendance at the baseball game.

“As long as we’re talking about Cuba policy I have something I’d like to get off my chest.” Salmon said, “I find the imagery of the President yucking it up with FARC terrorists at a baseball game yesterday when Europe is under siege by terrorists disgusting, absolutely disgusting.”

Salmon stopped himself, and shaking his head he continued, “Well, I’m not going to go on that. I just think there are better things the public should be seeing.”

While the President did not meet directly with members of the group, Secretary of State John Kerry did meet with delegations from both the Colombian government and FARC in Cuba, where ongoing peace negotiations are being held.

The U.S. State Department has designated FARC as a foreign terrorist organization and has accused the organization of drug trafficking.

Congressman Salmon was one of many criticizing President Obama staying in Cuba after the attacks in Brussels.

All three Republican presidential candidates called for the president to ditch the rest of his trip and return home.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been one of the most vocal critics of the trip said, “President Obama should be back in America keeping this country safe. Or president Obama should be planning to travel to Brussels."

In a joint press conference Wednesday with the Argentinian President, President Obama explained why he stayed in Cuba and continued his trip. He said ISIS’ “primary power, in addition to killing innocent lives, is to strike fear in our societies. To disrupt our societies, so that the effect cascades from an explosion or an attack from a semi-automatic rifle.”

He added, “It is very important for us not to respond with fear.”