Donald Trump is in hot water – again. But this time, his poor decisions could cost him votes in a pivotal swing state: Florida.
According to a story published in Newsweek on Thursday, the Republican nominee knowingly violated the U.S. embargo on Cuba in the 1990s. Trump's firm spent as much as $68,000 on a "foray" looking into business opportunities in Cuba in 1998, a claim that the candidate's spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway doesn't deny.
On Wednesday, Conway noted that Trump had spent money exploring business possibilities in Cuba. While doing so is a direct violation of the embargo set in place at the time, she told the Washington Post that in disclosing his illegal trip she “did not say he broke the law or violated the embargo.”
Despite Conway's revelation, Trump himself has denied the accusation, attempting to assassinate the reporter’s character in the process.
“I never did business in Cuba. There’s this guy who has a very bad reputation as a reporter. You see what his record is. He wrote something about me in Cuba. No, I never did anything in Cuba. I never did a deal in Cuba,” he told NH1 News.
The report, however, could still prove detrimental for Trump, as older Cuban-Americans in South Florida who may have favored Trump tend to be very pro-embargo, making it difficult to keep their support for a candidate who simultaneously stands against their values and lied to them about it for the sake of votes.
Ana Navarro, a Florida conservative strategist who is publically anti-Trump, noted that “it is never a good thing when voters feel played and find out the candidate they are supporting is a hypocrite on an issue that carries the emotion that Cuba policy does.”
Susan MacManus, a nonpartisan Florida political analyst, suggested that the report could cost him Florida, a battleground state where he and Clinton are neck to neck, according to Real Clear Politics.
“The hard-liners in the Cuban community are very high-turnout voters. And they’re shrinking in number,” she said. “Trump just went down there and had a special meeting with these people to try to shore up support with them. And, so, just when Trump was making inroads and assuring that community that he was on their side, then this story comes out.”
Clinton has used the claims to question Trump’s eligibility for president.
“This adds to the long list of actions and statements that raise doubts about his temperament and qualification to be president,” she said.