The AM Joy panel was joined by Rob Reiner to discuss the death of Fidel Castro, the complicated feelings some on the Left have about the Cuban Revolution, and Donald Trump's inevitable plans to clean up with a hotel on the island.
JOY ANN REID: There's this weird thing that happened today on Twitter, where you had Jesse Jackson tweet out about Fidel Castro, "In many ways after 1959, the oppressed the world after joined in Castro's cause." And people freaked out about that, saying, what are you doing, praising Fidel Castro? And then people were more hardline, particularly Cuban-Americans tweeting out how much Fidel Castro was this horrible, you know, was a dictator, which he was. so, what do you make of that? It is a weird dichotomy that's developing around his death.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH: Also interesting that Donald Trump tweets a statement that Castro is dead but put out a DM that he was a dictator. but then you see Vladimir Putin saying that Fidel Castro is an inspiring example for all countries and people. So, you have Donald Trump's buddy, Putin, praising Castro in no uncertain terms whatsoever, so I guess, the point of view of Trump, he likes his dictators more in a suit with a Russian accent, not messy and sloppy looking like Castro.
REID: It is a weird thing because you do have Donald Trump now at odds, at least the staff written statement, which I presume was written by his team. there's the Pence camp, which parts Romney to be the Secretary of State, hard line on Russia, did they write it? Or was it the Bannon side?
MARIA TERESA KUMAR: I think it's the pro-Bannon saying I still need Cuba, I still need the Cubans in Florida to win my re-election every year and I think that -- and two, to your point, if you actually look at where everybody was talking about, it shows the complexity of Fidel Castro, who he was as a man. I had the opportunity to visit Cuba when I was a graduate student a couple years ago, a decade ago. ....and it was interesting because we were there with one of my -- one of the fellow graduate students was a Filipino priest and he basically said, if you're from America, Cuba seems pretty bleak but if you're from the Philippines, where I'm from, it seems promising and that's the dichotomy.
REID: It never played out because Bernie Sanders was not the nominee, but one of the pieces of oppo research waiting in the wing for him were these old videos of him praising the health care system in Cuba, praising Venezuela and these sort of socialist governments. This is an affinity for some of the things socialism does for the poor and there's a critique of what communism is and then the racial issues in Cuba that don't get talked about. The exiles are a different racial complexion than the people back on the island. It's very complex for the Left right now.
ROB REINER: It is, and I'm probably the only person on the panel who lived through the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis and there have been 11 Presidents that have been trying to either make amends with Castro or fight Castro, and it's been an amazing journey, and you know, now you've got Obama, who basically started to open the door to Castro and normalize relationships and hopefully the embargo will be lifted and if that happens, maybe they'll have cars that aren't just from the '50s.
REID: Right. exactly and that's -- the US used to control Cuba. I think people forget the United States essentially controlled Cuba, the mob was very active in Cuba, all those hotels were run by Americans, and you got to know that people like the people who run Marriott and Hilton are eager to get back in there and Donald Trump, who tried to get back into Cuba and run hotels.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH: ...I'm half Sicilian.
REID: We blame you.
OBEIDALLAH: No, Donald Trump looks at it as a business opportunity and in a discussion with President Obama, I heard from some friends in the White House, Cuba came up and the business opportunities of Cuba actually came up in the discussions so I think you're going to see Donald Trump would love to show his condolences by building a massive trump hotel in Havana for the people to make money and say he's doing it "to help them."
REID: Yeah. and I mean, we'll go around the horn. we'll start with Rob we'll do a MacLaughlin Group here. on a scale of one to ten, where zero is absolutely never going to happen, ten is complete dead certainty, the chances of Donald Trump negotiating Trump Hotel Havana in the next 18 months. you, sir.
REINER: I'm going to say that if he stays in office, the chances are that it will be a 10 and it will be in the next ten minutes!
REID: Okay. Maria.
KUMAR: I would agree. I would say a ten and he's literally tweeting about it right now. Direct messaging Raul Castro.
REID: DM versus tweet, ask Anthony Weiner, there's a difference.
OBEIDALLAH: Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally, my all time favorite movies ...I think he's going to do it and there was a great quote from a Cuban dissident who said today: "Castro is the biggest liar, biggest ego, biggest bank account of any Cuban politician. He was a very smart psychopath and history will not absolve him," and it's like he's talking about Donald Trump -- so I think they have something in common these two.
REID: "The Princess Bride" is the greatest Rob Reiner movie ever made. "Have fun storming the castle." Thank you very much. we appreciate you, Rob. We obviously are all super fans. Dean, I know you're embarrassed. thank you for being on my show. Rob Reiner, Maria Teresa, we'll talk to them later. You might want to hang on the Sicilian part over the next four years...