The above clip was nearly a blip but contained a potentially major diplomatic slip-up on Trump's part after a reporter asked whether Cuba could have stopped the mysterious, possibly sonic attacks on USA diplomats that resulted in a civilian travel warning. "I do believe that, and it's a very unusual attack, as you know, but I do believe Cuba is responsible".
"Yes, I believe that Cuba is responsible".
A reporter asked Trump about White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's remarks that Cuba could have stopped the attacks. "There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they're colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect", the AP reported Friday. But according to the State Department cable, that's simply not true.
"Trump's own State Dept has not said this - has gone out of their way to say they don't know who is behind attack", Rhodes said. "We continue to exchange information with Cuban investigators", said the cable, which was marked "sensitive". This situation, which according to many sources is used by the current USA administration to reverse the process of normalization of the relations with Cuba, hit headlines in last August.
So far, the US State Department has not officially accused the Cuban authorities of the attack and has said that it does not know "what or who" caused them. But the Trump administration has shown little interest in continuing those efforts, an approach that has served to escalate tensions once more. And under the Vienna Convention, that government, the Government of Cuba, has a responsibility to ensure the safety of our diplomatic staff. The United States later whittled down embassy staff in Havana to only 27 people in late September before expelling 15 Cuban diplomats in early October.
While the president's comments appear to be a new position on the attacks, it's not clear if he meant Cuba was the perpetrator or if it shared blame for failing to keep USA diplomats safe on its soil. Cuba, however, called the U.S.' decision to pull out over half of its diplomats from the island nation's capital as "hasty".
The cable's careful wording matches previous rhetoric out of the State Department; when the United States announced the evacuation of American diplomats in September, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson avoided directly blaming Cuba for the attacks while simultaneously underscoring the belief that the incidents were intentional and that Cuban officials had not done enough to protect USA workers.