New York Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Bill de Blasio used a famous quote from revolutionary Che Guevara while addressing striking workers at Miami International Airport Thursday.
Footage posted on social media showed de Blasio posing for photos with the union members who walked off the job in an effort to urge their employer to improve working conditions before he made the controversial comment used by the Argentine who was a major member of the Cuban revolution.
"The day is coming soon here in Miami-Dade where you will win this struggle once and for all," de Blasio told the crowd. "Hasta la victoria siempre!"
The quote, which translates to "until victory, always!' was coined by Guevara during the 1959 Socialist revolution.
State Senator Annette Taddeo, who attended the rally but said she left before de Blasio spoke, said she was "utterly disgusted" by the comment.
"This is completely unacceptable! How can anyone wanting to be the leader of the free world quote a murderous guerrilla -in Miami no less! A community filled with his victims!" Taddeo tweeted.
Fellow State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, who also left before the comment was made, said de Blasio should apologize.
"Quoting a murderer responsible for death & oppression in communist Cuba and throughout Latin America is not acceptable," Rodriguez tweeted.
De Blasio later apologized on Twitter, writing that he didn't know the quote came from Guevara.
"I did not know the phrase I used in Miami today was associated with Che Guevara & I did not mean to offend anyone who heard it that way. I certainly apologize for not understanding that history," he tweeted. "I only meant it as a literal message to the striking airport workers that I believed they would be victorious in their strike."
De Blasio participated in the first night of the Democratic primary debates at the Arsht Center in Miami Wednesday, and also visited the center for immigrant children in Homestead earlier Thursday.
Florida's Republican senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio also took to Twitter to call out de Blasio.
"In case there was any doubt about the Democrats running for President embracing socialism, @BilldeBlasio is in Miami quoting...Che Guevara," Scott wrote. "You can’t make this up."
"Bill DeBlasio went to a rally at the #Miami airport today & ended his speech by quoting from the murderous Che Guevara’s farewell letter to Fidel Castro. But how dare anyone call him or any democrat candidate a socialist," Rubio tweeted.