But again, this wasn’t just empty theater. The power of presidential messaging over actual policy continues to become clearer and clearer during the Trump presidency. President Trump trotted out all the key themes during the rally Friday, and most importantly he showed up to Little Havana in the first place instead of simply making the announcement from the Oval Office or the Rose Garden. He came to the voters, and that’s always a powerful gesture.
Another important person at the event was Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio and President Trump traded vicious words during last year’s Republican primary process, but the sight of Rubio speaking so passionately in favor of the president’s move and President Trump’s reciprocal praise for Rubio underscored the vital role Cuban-American voters play and will play in Florida’s swing state vote.
But perhaps the biggest win for the Trump team on this issue came hours before he even arrived at the rally and executive order signing ceremony. The Miami Herald editorial board, which endorsed Hillary Clinton for president last year and called Donald Trump a “damaged human being,” came out in strong support of President Trump’s move Friday.
Our diplomatic relations with Cuba are an everyday story for the Herald and Miami’s other major news outlets, and its nod to President Trump here is a strong boost for the White House.
As former House Speaker Tip O’Neil said: “All politics is local.” And in a make-or-break state like Florida, President Trump has taken a stand that will boost him in a locality that means a lot more than most others in our national elections.
It really doesn’t matter how solidly different that stand is from existing policy. The move was extremely effective in ways that go way beyond a small island nation 90 miles from our border.
Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.
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