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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Federalist Radio Hour

May 5, 2022 | Press Releases

Washington D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Federalist Radio Hour to discuss his TEAM Act, American manufacturing, the latest on Ukraine, and more. See below for lightly edited remarks and listen to the full interview here.
On the current state and future of labor unions:
“When we talk about unions in this country, we oftentimes talk about a very adversarial situation between employer and employee. That wasn’t always the case. There was always friction when it came time to bargain, but today what we’ve seen is a lot of these labor unions have really become just political arms of the Left. That’s why there needs to be an alternative way in which workers can engage with employers. We’ve thought about that through this bill we filed called the TEAM Act, which creates a way for employees to organize without being under [unions’] control. 
“I’m not saying all unions [are adversarial, but] public employee unions are very much that way and have a very negative relationship with the general public. You’ve got some big union bosses still who really dominate these things. 
“When it comes to [the unionization efforts at] Amazon, this is a company that has benefited greatly from the laws of the United States and certainly loves to come to the right-of-center and economic conservatives when they need everything from regulatory relief to [alterations of] the tax code. On everything else, they are pretty much culture warriors [for the Left]. How can this be? How can we be in this arrangement where these large corporations come to us for help every time they want some special treatment in the tax code or regulations, but then on everything else, they hypocritically — and I say hypocritically, because they don’t call out other countries, like China — come after the Right and are full-scale culture warriors? 
“My view of it is we have no obligation to step in and support [liberal mega-corporations] when it comes to these union fights. Maybe the workers are right. Amazon is making a tremendous amount of money, in some cases selling things online that have been stolen. Their workers are constantly complaining of terrible work conditions. Why should we constantly be out there defending these businesses who, frankly, are not conservative or even pro-American in any way?”
On the TEAM Act:
“We’re trying to make [employee involvement organizations that] reflect that the labor-management relations situation doesn’t have to be a hostile one. The employee needs the employer to survive and prosper, and the employer needs good workers. There’s been a reminder here in the last couple of years of how difficult it is to function as a business if you can’t have stable access to labor. 
“One of the elements of the bill that we have filed — that, by the way, the RSC chairman Jim Banks has introduced in the House — is is that the members at companies with more than one billion dollars in yearly revenue would have the opportunity to elect a representative to serve as a non-voting member on the company’s board of directors. What we’re trying to do here is create a non-hostile but honest and meaningful situation in which workers have a place at the table and a vehicle or a process by which their concerns can be heard. 
“In many cases, these labor unions that are taking these fees are nothing but political front groups for the Left and for the union bosses that control them. [The TEAM Act alternative is] voluntary. It’s just one more option that would be available out there, either in right-to-work states or for companies that view this as a golden opportunity to have a better relationship with their workers.
On the possibility of bipartisan support for the TEAM Act:
“This Democratic Party cannot support this bill. It is possible that over time, and maybe even this cycle, there’ll be some new Democrats that enter the process and decide that they want to take their party in a different direction. But the current Democratic Party is controlled. The money, the activism, the staffing, the base of voters, all the enthusiasm and the work comes from a radical, Marxist, left-of-center view of the world and view of our country. 
“It doesn’t mean every Democrat is a Marxist or crazy. What it tells you is that [theirs] is a party whose most vibrant base for fighting, for raising money, for the people that work their campaigns, the people that are increasingly staffing many parts of Capitol Hill and the government and are out there knocking on doors, the ones that show up protesting Democrats when they step out of line — all of that is coming from a radical, left-of-center view of both the economy and America.
On the potential for a woke takeover of labor representation:
“In some cases and some industries that’s already happening. [Whether] you do it through an [employee involvement organization] or not, it’s not going to stop them from doing it. You’ve seen that in the tech sector, but increasingly in other companies as well, where you’ve got employees that basically are new to a company and then they come in and decide, ‘We don’t like the fact that we’re selling this book,’ or, ‘We don’t like the fact that so-and-so is going to be coming by today to speak,’ or, ‘We don’t like the fact that our PAC gave money to a certain candidate.’ It has nothing to do with the business. It has to do with politics. They want to force their company to reflect their political views. 
“At the end of the day, the reverse can be true as well. There may be employees that simply don’t like the fact that their company is out there involved in promoting these sorts of things externally or internally. 
“Is it a risk [that TEAM Act-style employee involvement organizations will become woke]? Sure, it’s a risk. But it’s a risk that exists whether we have [those organizations] or not. That movement to bully company leadership, to attack and be antagonistic towards cultural and or fiscal conservatives, is already in place. It’s already there.”
On the changing values of the Republican Party:
“We’re a party in transition. We’re a country in transition. We’re living through a pretty significant political realignment. What you’re finding here increasingly is that the biggest divide in American politics today is between the people who went to graduate schools and live in urban centers like New York or Washington, D.C. or Chicago or Los Angeles and make a lot of money and the people who work for a living on hourly wages, who maybe went to high school, maybe have two years of college, maybe have technical education, maybe have a four-year degree, but basically consider themselves both culturally and economically working-class. That’s the biggest divide in American politics today. 
“Beyond any sort of simple ideology, the Republican Party has become the home of these people who have figured out, ‘We can no longer be in the Democratic Party, because not only do they want to destroy the industries we work for, but culturally they want to ram down our throat all these weird ideas that they picked up when they went to college.’ There’s a huge revolt. The party is going through that. 
“Embedded in all of this is the broader question [about markets]. I believe in capitalism one hundred percent. Socialism is horrifying. I’m against it one hundred percent. It’s not about socialism [so much as the purpose of the market]. We believe in the free market, but we believe in a free market that exists to serve our people and our country, not a people and a country that exist to serve the market. If there are instances in which the market outcome may be the most efficient outcome, but it’s not good for America, not good for Americans, then we as policymakers have to make a decision [and side] with the American people [and] the national interest. 
“The market told us it is cheaper and more efficient to make a bunch of things in China, including medicine. It is not in our national interest to do that. Both because it’s cost us jobs and because it’s made us dependent. Our party has to get to the understanding that just because it’s good for the market does not make it good for the country in every case.”
On the urgency and feasibility of reshoring manufacturing:
“It depends on the industry. [For example,] Nike makes all this money in China. They won’t say a word to criticize China, not a word. But they’ll put up billboards all over America about how racist and terrible this country is, the whole Colin Kaepernick campaign, everything else. They are front-and-center on everything that criticizes America for being such a terrible place. It’s annoying and it’s hypocritical[, but] America can survive having a shortage of athletic shoes and Nike attire. [Imagine] China decides, ‘We’re going to invade Taiwan and want to cut you off of your Nikes.’ I think we’ll be okay. We may be annoyed, maybe upset, but we’ll be okay. 
“We won’t be okay if they say, ‘We’re going to cut you off from your medicine, from your generic pharmaceuticals. We’re going to cut you off from these electronic components. 
From rare-earth minerals that [we’ve] cornered the market on.’ It’s important for us to define which are the industries that are critical to our national security and which are ones that are just commercial products but we can live without. That’s the exercise we need to be going through. 
“The second question is can [a given industry] come back to America? In some cases, the answer is yes. Pharmaceutical manufacturing can return to America, including Puerto Rico, which could use the help. But if it can’t come back to America, then why not do everything we can to make sure it goes to Colombia, as an example, or somewhere else in the Western Hemisphere? Maybe one day, if they can get rule of law in place, [manufacturing can go to] places like Honduras and Guatemala, so that people don’t have to come to our U.S. border and cross it illegally, because there’s a job for them to do [at home]. Why Vietnam instead of Guatemala? 
“There are things we’ve got to be able to make for ourselves and or get from allies because they’re critical to our security. Then there are other things that have to be made, but if they are somewhere else, let them be made closer to America, in a place that furthers our national interest by diminishing the need to illegally immigrate to the United States.”
On how Communist China views the invasion of Ukraine:
“[The Chinese] are one hundred percent with Putin. It is tricky for them[, however. For one], they don’t like instability around the world, because they want stability so they can recover economically and continue to build themselves to the great dominant power that they want to become. The second thing they don’t like about it is they like to go around arguing against interference in the affairs of other countries. An invasion is a pretty big interference in the affairs of another country. For them this is problematic. They don’t want to be associated with that. The increasing evidence of these atrocities being committed is also something China does not want to be associated with. They don’t like it when it’s said about them, the fact that they’re doing it, and they most certainly don’t want to be seen as defenders of these atrocities the Russians are increasingly committing and [which are] increasingly being documented. 
“The flip side of it is, in their view, this is the opening act of a much broader struggle to remake the world away from a U.S., Western-dominated global order into one in which other countries like China and potentially Russia are at the center of. Russia is their ally in that. The second part of it is they’ve figured that every dollar and every second that America spends fixated on Russia and Ukraine is time and money we’re not spending on China. Third, beyond all this is what they’re learning, right? They’re watching what kind of sanctions are imposed when you invade a country. What does the military operation look like? What kind of weapons does the West provide? They’re taking all that into account in their own planning for Taiwan. I don’t believe we’ll finish this decade without having some dramatic showdown over Taiwan.
On the costs and benefits of providing aid to Ukraine:
“It’s expensive [to arm Ukraine]. We’re talking about another thirty billion [in the next package]. That’s a lot of money. We’ve given them equipment. We’ve used it from our own stockpiles or some other countries’ stockpiles. Now that equipment needs to be replaced — we can’t be without it forever. 
“There’s a lot of human suffering happening here. It’s terrible. But the degradation of Russia’s military forces in this conflict should not be underestimated. By the time this is said and done, maybe even already now, Russia’s conventional military forces will have been set back almost a decade. They don’t have the industrial wherewithal to replace all of this equipment. They’ve [experienced] massive failure rates on some of their most high-profile weapons systems. The loss of life has been horrifying, even on the Russian side. They’ve lost a lot of mid-level officers, special operations forces, either deserters, wounded-in-action, or dead. There’s been a tremendous amount of damage done. 
“I say this without diminishing the fact that they have strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. But Russia is in no shape to be able to invade anybody else after their performance in Ukraine, as devastating as it’s been on the Ukrainians. The Russian conventional capabilities have been substantially degraded and it’s going to take them a long, long time to get back to where they were, which has diminished the risk in the long-term and mid-term to countries in NATO and others in the region. 
“Ultimately[, this] could potentially free up resources for us to focus on the Asia-Pacific region and not worry as much about Russia invading Lithuania, because they have their hands full just trying to take a piece of Ukraine.”
On internal challenges within Communist China and Xi Jinping’s intention to assimilate Taiwan:
“Right now [the Chinese are] in no shape either. They’ve shut down Shanghai. They’re in the process of shutting down much of Beijing. They’ve run up substantial debt. There’s not as much transparency. We don’t know how much they owe. [There’s] a lot of government spending in China that’s not justified. They’ve put a bunch of money up to do projects around the world that are money-losers and make no sense. They did it for influence, but they’ve also done it domestically. They’ve built all kinds of projects and real estate and people just after a while stop moving from the countryside into the cities. They’ve got some internal challenges there. 
“I think the considerations that would keep them [from invading Taiwan] are first and foremost the fear that they would not be able to have a quick victory. For them to take Taiwan, they’d have to achieve success before the United States and the West could intervene and stop them, which is why they spent so much money on these weapons to hold us off and push us further away, to make it harder for us to intervene. That would be the first consideration. 
“Beyond [that], I don’t think they view Taiwan as an economic opportunity. I think [Xi Jinping views] this as a part of his personal legacy. I do not believe he thinks he can go down in history as who he wants to be, seen as the greatest leader in China’s history, without pulling Taiwan underneath [his] control. That’s what is going to drive their consideration here. Their price point for that is pretty high.”
On the quality of U.S. intelligence going forward:
“There are two aspects to intelligence. One is the information that’s collected. Increasingly, information is collected from open sources. You know what people are putting up on Twitter, where people are geolocated, when they say something, etc., but also information that’s gathered from signals, intercepted phone calls and emails. Or what spies are telling you, human sources. 
“Our collection of such information is still the best in the world. Is it being challenged? Sure. There are places that are not easy to collect on, and they know how we collect, and they’ve made it harder to collect on them, especially close societies. So by and large, the ream of data that we have in some places is really good, and in others [it] is not as good. Intelligence is always a game of Whac-A-Mole. You find a source or a method, and the adversary figures it out. They cut it off. You lose access, you have to rebuild it. 
“Then there’s the second part [of intelligence], and that’s analysis. Very rarely do you intercept information that says: ‘This is Colonel so-and-so. At 6:45 p.m. tomorrow, we’re going to do X, Y and Z.’ What you do get is all kinds of bits of data that, put together, make you believe that that’s maybe what they’re doing. 
“The analysis piece is the one that I think always bears watching, because an analyst looks at the data and can view it very differently [from another person]. Oftentimes within the intelligence community, there are very different views. Damage is done to both the intelligence community and to the country when people, particularly high-ranking people who have access to the intelligence information, substitute the analysis for what they want it to be, and they leak it to the press. 
“So Congressman or Senator so-and-so, high-ranking official, has access to the intelligence and is telling the media off-the-record or insinuating on-the-record: ‘We’ve seen some really bad stuff about X, Y, and Z. Trust me, I can’t tell you, but it’s there.’ They have credibility in a media that wants to believe that narrative and a media that wants to push that narrative to begin with. We have members of Congress that, in fact, did that. Then you also have former officials in the intelligence community who are also political, or have an ax to grind, and they feed this information either openly or behind-the-scenes.
“They’re substituting their analysis for real analysis. At the end of the day, that’s what they’re doing. I worry about that because it politicizes intelligence. The worst moments in American intelligence history have been when it’s been turned into a weapon for domestic politics. That happened under Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. The very reason why we have intelligence communities in the House and Senate is to provide oversight over that activity. The quality of our intelligence is better than anybody else’s. What’s problematic is how it’s being used by people for political gains and purposes. 
“We saw that after 2016. I always find it very simple. Do the Russians continue to try to divide Americans and influence the course of events in our country? Absolutely. Did they coordinate with a political campaign to carry that out? There’s never been any evidence of that. In fact, there’s evidence to the contrary. By the way, a lot of the people initially involved in all of this knew that and said that. Only later did they allow the narrative to become something different. Now we know that a lot of it actually was domestic disinformation, [deliberately promulgated] on behalf of the Clinton campaign.”
On the problematic nature of the Biden Administration’s new Disinformation Governance Board, given the fallibility of elites and the federal government:
“About a year and a half ago, if I would have said on this podcast or tweeted somewhere, ‘I think that the [COVID-19] virus came from a lab in China,’ it’s quite possible that the Department of Homeland Security [Disinformation Governance Board] would say that’s disinformation, and that’s the same disinformation that’s being put out there by adversaries of the United States. You’ve given [social media censors] a reason to ban you. You basically allow people to go around saying, ‘The federal government, the Department of Homeland Security, is saying that my senator is going around saying something that isn’t true and that, in fact, is Russian propaganda.’ A year later, the intelligence community tells us in an open hearing that the chances that [COVID-19] was a lab accident in China are about as high as if it was naturally occurring. Fifty-fifty. In some agencies it tilts towards the lab accident theory as the probable cause of it. In one year, we went from disinformation to something that’s now allowed. 
“[And take] the Hunter Biden laptop [story]. At the time, people were saying this is a Russian disinformation campaign. DHS officials, speech police, would have said this is Russian disinformation and anybody out there in America [who] would have been saying this would have been accused of being an agent of Russia. As it turns out, [the Hunter laptop story is] actually the subject of a federal investigation by the U.S. attorney in Delaware. That’s the danger here. You’re going to have a federal agency saying, ‘If you say this, you’re a Russian agent,’ even if later turns out that [what you said] had nothing to do with Russian agents and, in fact, happens to be true. 
“If we don’t think these people are coming for our freedoms, we’re out of our minds. This is the way Marxism works. You put the state above every institution — family, religion, community groups, etc., and you control what your opponents can say. Only certain things are allowed. Anything that’s not in line with what you want people to say — traditionally, Marxism says it’s counterrevolutionary. Modern Marxism says that’s hate speech, that’s xenophobia, that’s racism, whatever label they want to put on [it].
“If you talk to people that have moved here from Cuba in the last 15 years or even before — let’s say the generation that was born when Fidel Castro was in power and have only known that — they’ll tell you that from a very young age, they’re told: ‘If you adhere to the party line and you worship the leader, you get to go to college, you get to go to university, you get to have a profession, you get to travel, you get these benefits. If you don’t, you’re a counterrevolutionary. We’re going to make life harder on you in Cuba for a long time.’ I know people who were children in school in the early days of Castro who were encouraged to turn in their parents, to tell them if their parents were talking about Fidel at home or about the revolution. There’s a lot of visceral reaction to [attempts at censorship among Cuban immigrants].
“Socialism is an economic model. It is a tool of Marxism. Marxism isn’t just about economics. Marxism is about power and control over a country, over a population. Socialism is the way they control the economy, but that’s not the only control they want. They want control over society. They want control over the culture. That’s why in Marxist countries everything is controlled. Everything serves the state and the ideology of Marxism. 
“In the Marxism we’re seeing now in America, everything serves this wokeism, this cultural view, which is only held by a handful of people but with a lot of power. Everything must serve that. The movies have to be about that. The music has to be about that. What you write on social media has to be about that. Your corporate employee training programs have to be about that. Education has to be about that. Everything has to be in the service of that ideology. That includes the economy, which is why you now have even venture funds and shareholders pressuring companies — not to make money — but to make sure that [they] are being environmentally friendly and advancing social justice, however they seek to define that.”
On Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, influence over U.S. national security, and ties to China:
“Elon Musk already owns a company that’s much more important to America than Twitter, and that’s SpaceX. They are a company that has contracts with the government and is increasingly a big part of our commercial space industry. Twitter is nothing compared to the impact that companies like that have on the country. 
“When we’re talking about [the] individual per se, I’m not here to nominate Elon Musk to sainthood. I think he’s a guy who’s been very successful. He makes a lot of batteries and depends on a lot of batteries that come from China. I think we’re going to judge him and he’s going to be judged writ large by how he operates. A year from now, [if] we realize that anything you say that’s bad about China gets censored on Twitter, then we’ll have a new set of complaints about [Musk]. 
“I would just say that [his acquisition of Twitter is] a good deal for shareholders, because Twitter isn’t worth what he’s paying for it. It may become a platform where you don’t have to worry every day that because of who you voted for or what your views are on something, you’re going to have your account taken away from you. I think [that would be] a positive, if that’s what he sticks to. We’ll wait and see.”
On corporations’ response to the senator’s common-good capitalism proposals:
“They see it as an annoyance in some cases, but they’re not really threatened by it, because they still believe that the critical mass of the people in charge of decision-making in both parties are going to be with them. There is a lot more Wall Street money going to Democrats than to Republicans. They still feel like this is something they can navigate. That will continue to change. There are people that were helpful to me in the past that probably aren’t as excited to be helpful to me moving forward. They have found different ways to express it. You’ve seen the editorial board in The Wall Street Journal, and others call what I talk about as being some sort of socialism, which it’s not. It’s actually real capitalism. 
“If it’s important, it’s not easy. If it’s significant it’s not uncontroversial. There are a lot of people who have built both fortunes and political power on a status quo that basically says, ‘If someone’s making a lot of money on this, it’s good for America.’ They don’t like when people say: ‘I’m glad you’re making a lot of money. There’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money. I don’t want to punish you for making a lot of money. But if you’re making a lot of money in a way that’s bad for America or bad for Americans[, that’s not okay.]’
“I work for the American people. I’m not a CEO of a corporation. My obligations are to what’s good for the country and good to our people. That may bring [me] into conflict [with corporations] on an issue now and then. I’m not looking to punish corporations for making money like the Left. If corporations are pursuing activities that are bad for America or bad for Americans, there is no reason why the government should be rewarding that or prioritizing that kind of activity. We should be incentivizing the opposite kind of actions.”
On Florida’s withdrawal of legal privileges from Disney:
“We have to acknowledge that [the law that’s] been in place since the late 1960s is a very unique animal. You are basically giving a private company its own county. It’s worked out well for Disney and, frankly, well for the state of Florida up to now. 
“What’s happened [now] is that you have a company, a massive company headquartered really in California, that’s decided to defame a state that’s given them special status. They’ve basically gone [and] injected themselves into something [that has] nothing to do with them. Disney doesn’t run any schools in Florida, so I don’t know why they were going around talking about a bill that they are lying about. 
“This is a bill that basically says this: ‘You cannot teach kids from kindergarten to third grade — we’re talking about five- to nine-year-olds — you can’t be talking to them about gender identity and sexual orientation of any kind. You can’t be indoctrinating them in heterosexuality. You can’t be indoctrinating them in anything else.’ The overwhelming majority of people support that in Florida and around the country. 
“There’s this lie about [the bill] that [leftist activists have] come up with, this media-created, media-promoted slogan — ‘Don’t Say Gay’ — and Disney jumps all over it. Why? Because they’ve got employees in California that insist that they do it. They get themselves involved in this, and they lie about the state of Florida. They lie about what Florida’s doing and harm Florida’s image. The state of Florida says: ‘Hold on a second, you’ve got the special deal now. You’re harming the state and our economy. Maybe you shouldn’t have the special deal anymore.’ That’s what they did, and I’m fine with that. 
“Obviously, this is complicated. This is there’s a lot of things tied to [removing Disney’s privileges]. This is a tree that’s been in place a long time. Its roots are very deep. When you pull a tree out with deep roots, you’re going to tear up a lot of ground and maybe even tear up some pipes you didn’t know were there. That’s why they made the effective date next year, to give them some time to work through that. So we’ll see how all of that works out. 
“It was a critical moment and a reminder that if you’re going to be a company that goes out and defames a state that has created a benefit for you, which has been mutually beneficial, don’t expect that that special treatment you’re getting isn’t going to be scrutinized by somebody. That’s what’s happened here.”
On the liberal bias in the mainstream media:
“When you read or watch news coverage, for the most part, when they talk about issues like immigration, when they talk about any of this, it reflects what the public opinion is in the places [where] the people writing it live. I have no doubt in my mind that in the District of Columbia, in Manhattan, in Los Angeles, and in some of these other places that dominate the media, entertainment, and political coverage, these issues are quite unpopular, there’s no doubt about it. 
“The problem is that in the rest of the country, public opinion is something very different. That’s why people are surprised when they do a poll that says that the majority of Americans believe that abortions after 15 weeks should be banned. When you file a bill that says that, they freak out, they’re really going to rebel against it. 
“Florida is made up of a bunch of people that came here from other countries, people that, as I speak to you now, are out