Why Be Flippant In Front Of Your Successor? Providing Ammunition To A Retired General

When President-Elect Donald Trump has said that he does not agree with Obama Administration policies and regulations relating to the Republic of Cuba, and has indicated that there will be changes to United States policies and regulations relating to the Republic of Cuba, what value is provided by The Honorable Susan Rice, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, flippantly mentioning the importance of visitors to the Republic of Cuba "bringing back all the rum and cigars they can" in front of an audience that includes her designated successor- who will be charged advocating changes to actions by the Obama Administration?

Office of the Press Secretary

January 10, 2017

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice
Remarks at “Passing the Baton” Conference
U.S. Institute of Peace
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

As delivered—

"Good morning.  Thank you, Steve.  This week, especially, it’s nice to be reminded that there’s life after being National Security Advisor.  Thank you to Nancy Lindborg and the U.S. Institute of Peace for inviting me, and for the incredible work you do.  It’s always good to see so many friends and colleagues from across government.  And, I want to welcome my successor, General Mike Flynn, not only to this conference but to his new position.  Mike, I imagine you’ll soon appreciate why—instead of a baton—I’d be better off passing you a case of Red Bull.  

It continued as we stood strongly for the rights and dignity of all people around the world.  For citizens in Myanmar to elect their leaders.  For dissidents in China, journalists in Ethiopia, and ladies in white in Cuba to speak or organize free from repression.  For women and girls around the world to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that are their birthright.  For the rights of people everywhere to love whoever they love.

For the first time in half a century, Americans are flying direct from Miami to Havana, creating new opportunities for Cubans and Americans—and bringing back all the rum and cigars they can.  

Shedding that historical baggage removed an irritant that impeded cooperation and progress in the region.  Thanks in part to our opening to Cuba, U.S. relations with Latin America have never been better—and with this year’s peace agreement in Colombia, the longest-running war in the hemisphere came to an end."