President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held a press conference in the White House rose garden on Monday. During the conference, President Trump said that he believes that Cuba is responsible for the attacks on diplomatic personnel at the United States embassy in Havana, Cuba.
“I do believe Cuba is responsible, yes,” Trump said.
The attacks on US diplomatic personnel were reported in August. So far 22 US citizens have been injured in the attacks, which are believed to have been caused by a supersonic device.
The Cuban government has repeatedly denied involvement in the attacks. “Cuba has never perpetrated, nor will it ever perpetrate attacks of any sort against diplomatic officials or their relatives,” said Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Rodríguez Parrilla.
There is some credibility to be idea that the Cuban government may not have been behind the attacks. In an interview with CNN, Steven Garrett, a professor of acoustics at Penn State University, questioned the motive that the Cuban government would have for perpetrating such attacks and their technical ability to carry them out.
“The Cubans are not known for sophistication in physical and engineering acoustics,” Garrett said.
President Trump has taken a decidedly more hard line stance against the communist regime in Cuba than his predecessor. Just before his election, then-candidate Trump said that he would reverse President Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.
The people of Cuba have struggled too long. Will reverse Obama's Executive Orders and concessions towards Cuba until freedoms are restored.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2016
In June, Trump seemed to take a step in that direction by issuing a presidential memorandum. Through the “National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” President Trump instructed his administration to
- “End economic practices that disproportionately benefit the Cuban government,”
- “Ensure adherence to the statutory ban on tourism,”
- “Support the economic embargo,”
- “Amplify efforts to support the Cuban people,”
- “Not reinstate the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy,” and
- “Ensure that engagement between the United States and Cuba advances the interests of the United States and the Cuban people.”
President Trump did not elaborate during Monday’s press conference on any additional steps his administration may take in response to the attacks.