The White House says neither President Barack Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden will attend a memorial service for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday ruled out the leaders’ attendance at services for the former Cuban president.
Earnest said an announcement on whether or not the U.S. would send a delegation would come soon.
Top Republicans have called on Obama to not attend the ceremony for Castro, who died aged 90.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican from Georgia, tweeted that Obama, Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry should not attend “under [any] circumstance.”
Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, said he “would hope they would send no one to the funeral” during a Fox News interview.
Republicans also lashed out at Obama for his soft statements on the Cuban dictator’s death in which he said Castro “altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation.” He added: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”
As reported by The Hill, Earnest rejected claims that Obama was trying to apply a veneer over Castro’s regime, which has been derided by human rights activists and organizations.
“There certainly is no whitewashing the kinds of activities that he ordered and that his government presided over that go against the very values that our country has long defended,” he said.
Earnest also didn’t rule out if Secretary Kerry would attend the memorial.
“I don’t want to lead you to conclude that the secretary of state is considering attending,” Earnest said, Politico reported. “What I want to lead you to conclude is that we’ll have an announcement as soon as we can get one out about a delegation, if there is one.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.