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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Mornings With Maria
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Mornings with Maria to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict, China’s relationship with Iran, Jack Lew’s nomination, and more. See below for highlights, and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble.
On the situation in Israel:
“The situation in Israel is as follows. Right on their border, in a territory there called Gaza, [are] a bunch of fanatical savages. The reason why they exist is to destroy the state of Israel, drive every Jew out of the Middle East. [They] have just butchered and massacred babies and teenage girls and innocent civilians. They can no longer coexist. I argue they never could, despite some of the so-called experts around here saying that Hamas is a group we can work with, including the guy in charge of dealing with the Iranians under the Biden Administration, who’s now being investigated for all kinds of crimes involving classified information…. This group has to be destroyed.
“But this group follows the same playbook. This is a playbook they’ve played over and over again, not just them, but Hezbollah and others. They attack Israel, they kill a bunch of Jews, then they take off running, and they go hide in Gaza, for example, and they hide behind civilians. Israel responds, civilians unfortunately die because Hamas uses them as shields, they then go run to the global press, and they say, look what Israel is doing. Look how terrible this is. And then everyone puts pressure on Israel to stop before the job is done. And then what happens? Those guys survive, and they come back, and they kill more Jews in Israel. That plays out over and over and over again.
“That’s their playbook. They’ve done it over and over again, and this time has to be different. This terrorist organization cannot be allowed to continue as a viable entity. These are the guys who want their own country. Hamas’s position is, we want to govern, not just Gaza, we want you to give us our own country, presumably from which they can then kill even more Jews. This is an unacceptable situation. Israel has no choice but to wipe them out, and we have no choice but to do everything we can to help Israel by providing them the material they need to finish the job.”
On the Biden Administration’s principal negotiator with Iran:
“This is the person that everybody called an expert on the Middle East, an expert on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, an expert on Iran. In fact, he was working on the Obama campaign – I don’t recall if it was 2012 or 2008 – and the Obama campaign had to let him go, because he was caught coordinating with some of these groups in the middle of the campaign. Then they brought him into the National Security Council.
“This guy has an extensive record of writings, in which he argues that we should be at the table, that Hamas is a responsible actor, that they need to be a part of the solution, that they should be talked to. He has a long record of this. They put him in charge of the Iran negotiations, a guy who has clear sympathies for the Iranian regime…. The bigger challenge here is the influence operation that I have no doubt he was a part of in terms of influencing our policy and the way we talked about Iran. This is a guy who is potentially sharing information with them.
“But his viewpoint, you will find it all over the world. Go find experts anywhere, at the Council of Foreign Relations, at any of these other institutions out there that have been corrupted…. They do not understand that Iran is not Belgium, that Hamas is not Luxembourg. We are dealing with people whose value system tells them that life has no value, that it is a form of worship if you die in the name of jihad. In fact, they view it as heroic for their children to be killed as martyrs. They do not value life, they are willing to kill innocents, and their goal is pretty simple. They want every Jew out of the Middle East, either dead or gone. That is the stated purpose of Hamas.
“We Westerners have a problem. We don’t believe these people when they say this stuff. We just think it’s propaganda and talking points. We don’t believe they actually mean it. In the case of Iran, they’re trying to acquire nuclear weapons. What do we think they’re going to do with those weapons? They will use them to commit these sorts of atrocities.”
On Qatar’s role in the conflict:
“The Qataris are complicated…. It’s a small kingdom with a lot of money. How they punch above their weight is that they have influence. A long time ago, I believe they made the decision that having some relationship with Hamas made them a player in the region, gave them some influence. They had this love-hate relationship with Hamas. They send them money. They cut their money off when they don’t do what they want. They also operate al Jazeera, which is incredibly influential in the Middle East.
“On the one hand, I think the Qataris probably do not want to see a regional war, because it’s destabilizing to them and everything else. On the other hand, they have this long-standing relationship with different groups like this, because it gives them influence in the region, and it creates all kinds of friction within the different Gulf kingdoms involved….
“I think they should re-examine all of this. I really don’t think that groups like Hamas should be anybody’s proxy or anybody’s agents of influence. These groups can’t be dealt with. They have just shown us to be who the Israelis have known they are, and many of us have known they are for a very long time. They have demonstrated it to the world. These groups have to be eliminated.”
On China’s relationship with Iran and Hamas:
“The first thing [the Chinese] care about…is the oil. They understand that oil is critical. They may put out statements about global warming and climate change and clean energy, but they want oil. They have the world’s largest surplus of refining capacity, and so they don’t want to see anything that disrupts the oil supplies in the world, because it hurts their economy.
“The second thing they want is anything that drains America, costs America money, or distracts America. In their view, for very little investment, any sort of disruption that focuses our attention on there instead of Taiwan and things of that nature is positive. That’s why I think the Chinese take the position that they have and have the relationship that they have with Iran.
“They want to overtake America as the world’s great power. They view Iran as an irritant to the United States, and a place that we have to focus on. The more Iran has power, the more Iran has influence, the more Iran can be a player at our detriment, the better it is for China. I think you’ll continue to see them take this position.
“The Russians have as well. But the Chinese obviously have a lot more power and influence at this point than the Russians do…. China is a part of this broader alliance or axis of anti-American, anti-Western interests in the world who view every opportunity as an opportunity to harm America, harm our allies, and strengthen themselves in the process.”
On Jack Lew’s nomination as U.S. ambassador to Israel:
“I think we should have an ambassador in every country, [but] It has to be the right person. In the case of Mr. Lew, I have real concerns that he has misled and lied to Congress in the past, in terms of some of the financial arrangements that were made under the Obama Administration…. That’s something that needs to be asked. He just got nominated. The paperwork on his nomination arrived a week ago today here in the Senate. It would have been impossible to [go from] nominating to confirm[ing] him or anybody else [in that timeframe]. We’ll go through those hearings. We’ll go through that process.”
On the importance of keeping U.S. support for Israel bipartisan:
“I always want Israel to be a bipartisan issue, I really do. I think the strength of that is that it is bipartisan, and so I want it to remain bipartisan. I will say that I have some concerns about how the Biden Administration has responded to this. But I do think, for example, the sending of the carrier group is a positive step forward. They’ve said all the right things publicly at this point. We’ll continue to try to make this as bipartisan as possible, and hopefully, it’ll remain that way. This is a very serious and delicate and dangerous situation, but an important one for the United States.”
On the expected length of the war:
“It won’t be easy. On the ground, [Hamas] have become insurgents. They have tunnel systems, they’ve created defensive mechanisms, and they’re hiding behind civilians. But what we can’t allow here is a couple of weeks from now, everybody’s sympathy for Israel to go away, and it all becomes about how Israel has to stop. If they don’t finish the job, this group is going to come back and kill many more Israelis, many more Jews in the months and years to come.”
On Israel’s capability to wipe out Hamas’ presence:
“I have confidence that they can degrade Hamas to the point where they can never do what they did the other day. Again, at the end of the day, Hamas can no longer be in charge of anything. Not Gaza, not anything.”