Donald Trump’s campaign manager denied Thursday that one of the GOP nominee’s businesses violated the U.S.-Cuban embargo in 1998, dismissing an investigative report that accused Trump of knowingly spending $68,000 staking out an investment on the island.
“Read the entire story. It starts out with a screaming headline, as it usually does, that he did business in Cuba. And it turns out that he decided not to invest there. I think they paid money, as I understand from the story, in 1998 — and we're not supposed to talk about years ago when it comes to the Clintons,” Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said on ABC’s “The View” Thursday, amid cross talk.
A story in Newsweek, which was published Thursday morning, alleged that Trump had spent as much as $68,000 on a “foray” into Cuba, thus violating the embargo. The fees were paid by Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts through a consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development.
Afterward, the consulting firm said the trip had been taken on behalf of a Catholic charity.
Conway appeared to suggest Thursday that Trump had in fact spent money in Cuba, even though he ultimately decided not to invest. Under the embargo, it would have been against the law to spend any money on the island at all.
“So the question is: Did he spend money? He's very critical of Cuba, he's very critical of Castro, he's been critical of Cuba,” she said. “He gave a speech the very next year to the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami critical of those who want to do business with Castro. And he's talked about the Cuban embargo even on this trail.”
Questions about whether Trump violated the Cuban embargo could emerge as a political liability, particularly in Florida among Cuban Americans.
Conway repeated several times that Trump did not ultimately invest money on the island.
“But again, we're talking about, did his hotel invest money in 1998 in Cuba? No. Did [Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton] get money from seven foreign governments while she was secretary of state? Yes.”
This story has been updated.