"A towering figure who had a profound impact on the history of not just his country, but the Western Hemisphere." 

That's how White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest described late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro today in his daily briefing to the press corps. 

He went on to say that there should be "no whitewashing of the kinds of activities that he ordered and that his government presided over."

The comments come after the White House faced criticism over the weekend for its initial response to Castro's death. 

Earnest also said President Obama and VP Joe Biden will not attend the funeral in Havana. He said there would soon be a statement on who would make up the U.S. "delegation, if there is one."

LOOK: Gary Sinise Served Thanksgiving Dinner to Troops in Afghanistan

'Xenophobia' Declared Word of the Year Due to Brexit, Trump's Win

Electoral College Member Getting Death Threats Ahead of Trump Vote