Feb. 1, 2013
Yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) appeared on Washington Watch Daily with Tony Perkins to provide an update on fiscal negotiations and the Hagel nomination. You can listen to his interview here. Below is the transcript of his remarks:
Transcript for Interview with Senator Marco Rubio
Tony: Senator Senator Rubio, thanks for joining us
Senator Rubio: Thanks for having me on
Tony: First, a couple of things, we’re talking about the fiscal measure that made its way through the Senate today. I might ask your comment on that then I want to go quickly to the nomination of Chuck Hagel.
Senator Rubio: Well first of all, you know, obviously I appreciate what the House trying to do to move this issue forward and prevent a meltdown of the economy or all the things that people predict will happen with default ect. No one is in favor of default. I just don’t support these short-term deals anymore. This has been my position now for about a year and a half since I got here. We just have such a serious problem that we’re facing in terms of the need to get our long term debt under control, finally pass a budget, ect. I hope we can start the work of doing that this year because we’re really running out of time to get our fiscal house in order before we start to experience some of the chaos that you’ve seen in other economies around the world.
Tony: I agree with you 100%. I think we continue to “kick the can” down the road and eventually we’re going to “kick the bucket” financially if we don’t get a grip here.
Senator Rubio: That’s right.
Tony: As the House leadership has explained as we’ve talked with them, though we’re not necessarily on board, but listening to what their strategy is, is that there will be a show down coming up in March over the sequestration over the budget. The House is supposed to produce a budget. The Senate is supposed to produce a budget. It hasn’t done so under Harry Reid. Do you think the Republicans will stand firm when we come down to that next deadline?
Senator Rubio: I do. I think that if you look at the sequester, it’s already there. In essence, that will happen unless something happens. I don’t want to see, and I think the position most have taken, is that the sequester was designed intentionally to be very painful and very unsustainable. It’s supposed to force action. But in the absence of action, it’s going to happen. I’m just saying to the people: I believe the House will hold the line on it. I believe there’ll be enough votes in the Senate to hold the line on it. It’s not good for our national defense, there’s no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, neither is our runaway national debt and I think we have to deal with that issue. Perhaps the sequester is the only way we’re going to get people to move on it.
Tony: I think you could be right. Let me shift gears. You came out yesterday or today saying that you would not support Chuck Hagel as the President’s selection for Secretary of Defense. Just before you joined us earlier in the program we had Pastor John Hagee who brought hundreds of pastors here this week from across the country expressing concern. The hearing today did not go well for the President’s nominee. Tell us why you have problems with Chuck Hagel.
Senator Rubio: Well I’ve been concerned about a number of statements he’s made in the past. Let me begin by saying that Secretary of Defense is probably one of the top two or three cabinet posts that the President will name. It’s the face of America’s national defense. In over the last few years I would say it’s risen in prominence to almost equal as Secretary of State if not, on some occasions, more so. So it’s not just a quality of the person, it’s the comments that they’re going to make. All of that is analyzed and viewed by foreign governments in terms of how they make their decisions with regards to us. And so I have tremendous respect for Senator Hagel’s service to our country in Vietnam and his military service, ect. But, he’s made a number of comments in the past that are very concerning and, in particular, when it comes to Israel. And today when he was asked about those questions, and that’s what I wanted to hear, I thought he did a very poor job of answering. In fact, I think he made things worse. He couldn’t cite a single example of what he had called the “Jewish Lobby” or the “Israeli lobby intimidating people into voting a certain way.” He was asked questions. In fact, Senator Ted Cruz played an audio tape of an interview he did with Al Jezeera where someone accused Israel of war crimes and he did not dispute it. The problem with that is not just the policy disagreement. The problem with that is that Israel’s enemies look for daylight of any kind in order to move forward on actions.
Senator Rubio: Just today we are reminded of that. There was a joint statement by Iran and Syria threatening to attack Israel. Probably the only thing that keeps them from doing that, other than the Israeli’s abilities to defend themselves, is their relationship with us. I think in a very dangerous world if we have a Secretary of Defense who says things that are counter-productive to that relationship, it might actually lead to some terrible miscalculations, which may actually end up pulling us into an armed conflict in that region and we would like to avoid that if at all possible. So I just don’t think he’s the right person for this job.
Tony: I couldn’t agree more. I go with President Reagan- it’s a “peace through strength” and I do not think that he puts our strongest foot forward as Secretary of Defense. I know you’re busy, Senator. Thanks so much for taking time to be with us and give us your insights on today’s happenings on the Hill.
Senator Rubio: I appreciate you having me on.
Tony: That’s Senator Marco Senator Rubio from Florida, one of the conservatives in the Senate doing a great job over there. You’ll hear more from him I’m sure in the days ahead.
For more, visit TonyPerkins.com.