President Joe Biden is facing backlash from even members of his own party in the wake of a new report claiming he’s planning to remove a Colombian rebel group from the federal government’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report on the White House’s plan.
The Journal revealed exclusively on Tuesday:
The Biden administration will remove a former Colombian rebel group from a list of foreign terrorist organizations, a measure intended to demonstrate American support for a fragile peace agreement with the guerrillas in Colombia, said U.S. and congressional officials with knowledge of the coming announcement.
The reportedly “fragile” agreement, which the U.S. helped to bring about, was first enacted roughly five years ago between then-President Juan Manuel Santos and a group of rebels known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
According to the Journal, dropping the terrorist designation for the group would show “the U.S. recognizes the steps rebels took to transform their group into a political party, now called the Common People party.”
The decision is expected to go into effect by the end of the month, the Journal said.
According to Politico, the Journal‘s report may not have caused much of a stir in D.C. — but it has caused a stir in Florida, which has a large population of Colombian Americans.
“Biden’s policy is reverberating loudly among Democrats, leading some of the state’s top elected officials, strategists, and activists to rail against the decision,” Politico reported Thursday.
Among the Democrats speaking out against the move is Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a gubernatorial candidate who is herself a Colombian American. According to Politico, she called Biden’s decision “terrible,” “bad policy,” and “bad politics,” and described FARC as a group of “terrorists, murderers.”
Other Florida Democrats are reportedly calling for Biden to walk back the decision.
The response from the White House
According to Politico, the White House held a conference call to explain its position wherein an administration official argued that Biden is trying to distinguish between the FARC rebels who have disbanded and those who have gone on to form other dissident groups.
Only time will tell if this is a good enough excuse to appease both voters and the new critics the president has earned within his own party.