WASHINGTON — House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill said today that if the Nicaraguan Sandinistas had chased contra rebels inside Honduras last week, the House would have voted in favor of President Reagan's $100-million aid package for the rebels.
"It's a tremendous blunder by (Nicaraguan President Daniel) Ortega," O'Neill told reporters. "If it (the aid request) was up before the House today, it could probably persuade some members of Congress to change their vote."
The measure lost by 12 votes.
"I haven't met Ortega," O'Neill said. "He's a bumbling incompetent, a Marxist-Leninist communist. He has his following. I'm confident it is not a majority."
"One of the key elements of any peace is the principle of nonintervention," O'Neill said. "Just as I have opposed any effort to overthrow the government in Nicaragua, I oppose any violation of the sovereignty of Honduras."