Washington (CNN)New York Mayor Bill de Blasio apologized Thursday after using a phrase associated with Ernesto “Che” Guevara at a rally in Miami.
“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,” the Democratic presidential hopeful posted on Twitter. “I only meant it as a literal message to the striking airport workers that I believed they would be victorious in their strike,” he wrote. De Blasio was addressing striking workers at Miami International Airport when he shouted in Spanish, “Hasta la victoria, siempre!” which translates to “Until victory, always!” — a slogan coined by the polarizing Argentine-born Cuban revolutionary, according to CNN affiliate WFOR. 9 takeaways from the Democratic presidential debate's first nightThe mayor faced swift backlash for his comments before he issued the apology. Read MoreDemocratic Rep. Donna Shalala of Florida tweeted, “It is unacceptable to quote a murderer like Che Guevara, especially in Miami, where so many people have suffered as a result of his brutality.”Shalala said the “workers protesting for better conditions deserve our strong support, but their efforts should never be tied to that murderer.”Miami-Dade Democrats tweeted, “Elected officials need to stop glorifying mass murderers. Whether it’s @realDonaldTrump praising Kim Jong-un and Putin or @BilldeBlasio quoting Che Guevara today.””The statement made by @BilldeBlasio was unacceptable. The Mayor should immediately retract it and apologize to the victims of the mass murder he quoted and the community at large,” a second tweet from Miami-Dade Democrats reads. Fact-checking the first night of the first Democratic presidential debateRepublican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida tweeted, “In case there was any doubt about the Democrats running for President embracing socialism, @BilldeBlasio is in Miami quoting…Che Guevara. You can’t make this up.”Florida state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, a Democrat, posted on Twitter, “Quoting a murderer responsible for death & oppression in communist Cuba and throughout Latin America is not acceptable. Please apologize. Many on strike are Cuban btw.”The chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Terrie Rizzo, posted on Twitter, “Mayor Bill DeBlasio does not speak for Floridians or the Florida Democratic Party and he would be wise to apologize.”Florida Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo tweeted she was “utterly disgusted.””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! #DeleteYourCampaign,” Taddeo wrote.