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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey
Washington D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey to discuss lessening the United States’ dependency on China, economic issues facing Americans, the best parts of being a father, and more. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On Rubio’s efforts to prevent federal employees’ retirement savings from supporting companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party:
“Most Americans are not day traders. If you have investments for your future, it’s in a 401K, in a pension fund. If you’re a federal employee, it’s with the Thrift Savings Plan. Those funds invest the money for you, and they invest it all over the place [in] things you see, things you don’t see, and in funds that you don’t understand what’s inside the guts of them. A lot of times these funds are investing in companies that have links to the Chinese Communist Party or Chinese companies. The reason why they invest in these companies is because they’ve made a pretty good rate of return on them. These companies have grown very quickly. They’ve been capitalized by American investment money. Again, not day traders but just everyday hardworking people that are trying to put some money aside for the future.
“Here’s two problems we have. The first is those companies traditionally have not been subject to the same scrutiny. Chinese companies for years would refuse to live by the auditing rules that every other company listed on our exchanges had to deal with. So you had to actually show this is how much we made, this is how much we spent, [and] this is how we run our company. Some transparency. The Chinese law prohibited that from occurring. The other is there’s no such thing as a private company in China. At the end of the day, every company in China exists because the government and the Communist Party allows it to exist.
“If in the future we’re in a conflict with China, and the Chinese decide, ‘Well, one of our leverage points we have over Americans is to threaten their retirement plans,’…you can imagine all of a sudden a bunch of American retirees whose pension funds…are suddenly collapsing…pressuring their government, ‘Don’t go to war with China because it’s going to ruin our retirement.’ It’s just one more piece of leverage that they have over us.”
“And here’s the absurdity of it. This Thrift Savings Plan, which is the federal 401K for federal employees—including, by the way, my staff, members of Congress, but also members of the military—are investing in Chinese companies linked to the Chinese military. So theoretically, you could have an American sailor on a ship whose retirement is being invested in a Chinese military-linked company who is designing anti-ship missiles to kill him or her. That’s the absurdity of it.”
“We held up…these appointments with the Thrift Savings Board, and we actually put a hold on those nominations until we got a letter from them saying that this is an issue that they would take care of. They have fought us for three years on this. You would think that we were trying to disband the Thrift Savings Plan, that these people fought us left and right on that board to not be prohibited from doing business with companies that are like the Chinese military.”
On the factors contributing to inflation:
“The tariffs [on China] have absolutely nothing to do with inflation…. The first [cause of inflation] is they pumped a bunch of money into this economy. We have to remember that Biden and his people were saying inflation was not a big deal. ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s a temporary blip on the screen. It’s going to go away.’ They said that for over a year. So when the people in charge have that attitude, then you wind up with the situation we have right now.
“The inflation is being driven by a bunch of money pumped into the economy and supply chain disruptions that are caused because the Chinese factories weren’t producing. That’s going to happen again. Shanghai was shut down for a month, Beijing may get shut down. That’s a byproduct of our overdependence on China. [Another problem] has been with industries in America that were stolen or never restarted as a result of all this….
“But the number one driver of inflation right now is fuel prices, because fuel prices are embedded in the cost of everything. When you go to a grocery store and you buy five pounds or a pound of ground beef or whatever you buy that got there on the truck, that truck uses diesel fuel. The more expensive that diesel fuel, the more they’re charging that supermarket for that delivery. The more they charge them for that delivery, the more they’re going to charge you when you buy the ground beef. That’s a fact. That’s happening [with] product after product.
“How [do] we solve the fuel issue, the cost of gasoline and diesel in this country? The answer is not complicated. We have to have more of it. The more of it there is, the lower the price will be. We in America have the ability to produce at least a million barrels of oil a day more than what we’re producing now. But Joe Biden can’t do that because if he does that, he has to go to war with radical leftist elements in his own party. Their ideology is out of touch with reality, and it’s keeping them from solving that problem. It’s also keeping them from solving the border. It’s also keeping them from solving the crime wave.”
On the factors contributing to high fuel prices:
“We are producing a million barrels of oil a day less than we were in 2019. That’s number one. Number two is, are Americans driving more than they were in April of 2020? Yes, because everything was shut down…. Are we driving more than we were in April of  or July of ? No, we’re not…. Demand is up compared to in the middle of COVID when everything was closed. [But] it is certainly up to [ordinary] historical numbers….
“People on the Left have been arguing for a long time that the way to get us away from fossil fuels—natural gas, gasoline, and petroleum products—is to make it so expensive that people would stop using it. That has always been their plan. Make it more expensive to use that than to use renewables. Make it more expensive to have a gasoline powered car than an electric car. That’s their goal. This is helping them along the road. They’re willing to lose this election if it means that down the road, with high gas prices, people will be willing to drive [electric cars]. They want everybody on buses, mass transit, and electric cars. That’s what they want. And in some places that’s just not feasible, it’s not possible, it’s not going to happen. But that’s what they want. So they like these high prices, if you’re from that radical view. Others are just apologists for trying to cover for Biden.”
On the future of the inflation crisis:
“At some point, you would hope that sanity would prevail and common sense would prevail. But before we get there, I think we’re going to have to hit rock bottom in our politics. That hasn’t happened yet….
“I think we could very well see here, very soon, the rationing of diesel fuel. There’s already a shortage of diesel fuel. There’s now talk about having to ration the availability of diesel fuel, which will not only add to the cost, but it will actually lead to supply chain disruptions of all sorts and kinds. I think you could see the rationing of jet fuel, which means it’s going to be harder for people to travel. Both jet and diesel fuel right now are at a critical shortage. I think you’re going to see some rolling blackouts in some of the utilities in this country because their generation portfolio, how they generate energy, moved too quickly to renewables, and they don’t have enough of a mix of historic coal or natural gas, or they can’t get enough natural gas, or whatever it might be. So in these places where you see this peak energy consumption, you’re going to have some of these potential disruptions as well.
“I think that’s the point at which people are really going to break out. I think they’re going to take it out on them in the elections. But ultimately, I think we’re going to have policy leaders who have some level of sanity in here and say, ‘Look, when times get like this, we have got to produce more oil.’ We can’t let ideology get in the way of common sense, which is what’s happening on the Left right now.”
On the idea that corporate greed is to blame for high gas prices:
“Of what you pay at the pump,…the smallest piece goes to the gas station. A large chunk of it goes to local and state taxes…. That’s why you see different gas prices in parts of the country. Then there’s the oil companies. Are the oil companies, for lack of a better term, greedy [because] they want to make profits? Yeah, that’s the way they’ve always been. But ultimately, they don’t necessarily control the price, because the price is set by production. Were they any less greedy two years ago or three years ago when the gas price was 50 percent what it is today? They’ve always wanted to make money.
“The fact of the matter is, there are people who are traveling and using gasoline around the world as much as they did pre-pandemic, and there’s not as much of it. As a result, the price went up. And there’s not as much of it because the OPEC countries are saying, ‘Why would we increase production at this point? We’re recouping all our losses.’ And in America, it is off the market. They’re controlled by green radicals. So what you have is this very weird, strange, [and] absurd situation where you have Joe Biden about to get on an airplane and travel to the Middle East to beg the Saudis to produce more oil. [There are] hopes [for a] deal with Iran so they’ll produce more oil—that won’t make a difference by the way, the markets are already priced in an Iran deal…. [And the administration is] trying to cut a deal with Venezuela for more oil, which also won’t make a difference because they can’t produce more oil, because communism has destroyed their productive capacity and they give 80 percent of it to China anyway as a payment for the money they owe them. It’s a weird situation that we have in place here….
“At the end of the day, these prices are set by the global market. It’s very simple. If in fact I was charging too much for oil [at] my company, some other company would say: ‘Hey, I can steal some of their business if I just lower the price by a little bit. I can undercut you and I can take away your business. My oil is cheaper than your oil.’ That’s what would be happening. That’s not what’s happening. The reason why it’s not happening is this is a supply and demand issue. Demand is up to historic numbers, the supply has been restricted, and one of the world’s leading oil producers, the United States, refuses to produce more oil because we have an administration that’s, for example, going to banks and saying: ‘Don’t lend money for new oil exploration. Don’t do business with oil companies or natural gas companies.’”
On the baby formula shortage:
“We asked the president to [invoke the Defense Production Act] a week before he did, which is to actually allow the government to get involved in mandating the creation of this and basically to take charge of the productive capacity in a short-term emergency.
“The other [solution] is to allow the importation of formula from other parts of the world, which we’ve tightly restricted but in this case should be allowing,…because of the shortage of the couple [baby formula] plants that shut down as a result of the safety situation back in December, November of last year.
“Common sense would tell you, ‘Okay, these guys have 50 percent of the market because there’s really only two major formula producers in America. One of them is closed. They’re not producing. We’re going to have a shortage.’ When you take the largest company in America and not allow them to produce a certain type of formula for a month, two months, three months, eventually, when the inventory is used up, you’re going to have a shortage…. To this day, no one in the Biden Administration can tell you who is in charge of addressing that, who was in charge of identifying: ‘Guys, we have a problem here. We’re not producing formula and in three months we’re going to have a critical shortage.’”
“When my first child was born, my oldest daughter now, she had a particular food allergy. She had to have a very specific formula that we needed to find. I’ll never forget, it was not easy to find as it is, but we were able to do that. I can’t imagine what people are going through now. I think 33 states have critical shortages where in some counties in those states the availability of it is zero. People are hunting, traveling long distances with their expensive gas to try to find baby formula. You hear stories of people coming up to you saying: ‘I have to travel to live in Miami. I have to go all the way to Martin County to find a store that has any of this formula, but I can’t afford the gas.’ It’s a terrible situation that needs to be corrected and it really has to do with incompetence in this case [and]…total lack of accountability on the part of the FDA, but writ large, the Biden Administration.”
“I do [see solutions] only in the sense that this factory is back up and running and eventually that productive capacity will catch up. But there’s still a lag time. Just because they produce formula this morning, by the time that gets to the store shelves, there’s weeks in between.
“I would also say that like anything else that’s being transported in America, if the price of diesel climbs, that price of that formula when it gets there is still going to be high. We can’t protect it from inflation…by producing it, but we can certainly deal with the availability part of it. In the interim, this is something that never should happen in the United States of America, the most advanced economy in the world. We should never have a baby formula shortage. That just should never happen.”
On voting to pass the $40 billion dollar aid package to Ukraine:
“Number one is we gave Ukraine a bunch of our own equipment. When you say you’re going to send them ammunition or missiles to shoot down things, these things come from us. They’re from our stockpiles. So now they have it, so now we need it. Most of that money, a substantial percentage of that money, was simply to buy stuff we gave them, so we have it for ourselves. We have to replace it, so that costs money. Could it have been a smaller package? Sure, but close to half of that was simply us buying new equipment that we have donated or given to them.
“The second piece I would make is the following, and this is broader and it requires…a larger context. China’s watching what’s happening in Europe very closely. China is intent on taking back Taiwan, either voluntarily…or by force. One of the things they’re looking at is, ‘Let’s see how the United States and the West react in Ukraine, because if they’re not willing to do much, or they’re only willing to do lip service on Ukraine, then they’re certainly not going to get involved in a Taiwan situation.’
“The day that China takes Taiwan and we do nothing about it, that will be the moment in human history in which the world will conclude that China has surpassed the United States and is now the world’s most powerful country. One of the things that could encourage China to do that earlier than they planned is that they come to believe that no matter what happens with Taiwan, we may talk tough, but we’re not going to do anything about it—especially if they decide that we didn’t do anything about Ukraine, we’re not going to do anything about China.
“This messaging matters, just as I’m convinced that the disastrous pull out of Afghanistan [mattered]. I thought that war needed to end, but the way we did it encouraged Putin to do what he’s done in Ukraine because he says, ‘If these guys don’t even know how to get out of a war, how they possibly can do anything to stop me from taking the country that I want to take?’ I do think we have to view it through that lens as well.
“That said, I said it at the time and I’ll say it to you again now, we can’t be writing $40 billion checks for three months. I think we’ve done a lot to help Ukraine. I want us to continue to be helpful to them. But it certainly can’t be an open-ended forever, because we’ve got some issues we’ve got to confront here, including our national debt.”
On how progressives silence conservatives on cultural issues:
“What I’m about to use as an example, an analogy here, could apply to any industry. I’m just going to pick one. Let’s say you wanted to have a career in finance, right? You went to one of these colleges. You spent a lot of money to go to this college. You have a great credential to begin with while you’re at college. There’s a very clear risk reward system in place.
“As an example, if you go out and you put the right stickers on your laptop with all whatever the social cause of the month is, you join the right clubs, you tweet and say the right things, and you have your pronouns on your social media page, there’s rewards for that. You get rewarded for that. You get promoted, you get all kinds of positive feedback for doing that.
“If you say nothing, you may not get punished, but you won’t certainly won’t be rewarded. If you speak out against those things, if you have stickers on your laptop, for example, attending one of these elite colleges, [with] a Trump 2024 or Trump 2020 bumper sticker or sticker on it, you’re going to be punished. You’re going to be called a white supremacist, a hater, whatever it might be. That’s just in college. Now, you graduate, go on to the real world, and have to send applications to go interview with people.
“If your resume talks about your activism on these issues, you use the right terminology because these people have invented a brand new language, right? It’s not English. It’s this brand new language with key phrases about inclusivity, diversity, equity, all these words that they throw out there.… You use the right words to describe what you’ve done and studied. You have your pronouns listed on your resume and so forth. You’re rewarded for that. You’re rewarded with all kinds of benefits, promotions, getting hired jobs, people saying nice things about you, people in power. If you don’t have that on there, you’re at a disadvantage.
“If you have the opposite on there, if you actually have a history, they can go through your social media account and they find out, ‘Oh my gosh, this person was involved in the Federalist Society!’ or ‘This person was involved in the College Republicans!’ There’s a punishment attached to it. That’s true in profession after profession and field after field. Now, for a lot of Americans, you have a business or you work somewhere, and you just don’t need the hassle. You don’t need the hassle, so you just try to avoid it. I know a lot of people that have gone through that [and] they try to avoid it. If you come for their kids, that’s a different story. Then they’ll react.
“For a lot of people, they’ve decided, ‘Look, I know the cost benefit analysis. I either have to cave in and go along with this stuff just because that’s the price of getting ahead. Or I have to stay quiet and bite my tongue and pretend that I agree without actually going too far, because otherwise I’m going to pay a price for it. That’s what’s happening.
“Look, I don’t care where you go, if you go to a lot of Democrats and you ask them, ‘Do you think it’s normal? Do you think it’s okay for six year old kids to be taken and have these events hosted where drag queens are reading stories to them or men dressed up as women are reading stories. Most people tell you, ‘No, I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t take them there. I wouldn’t do it.’ We certainly shouldn’t be using government money like we were about to send [to] an Air Force base in Germany before we wrote a letter about it to be doing that kind of stuff. There’s a lot of people in positions of power who do think this is a healthy activity and will punish anyone who speaks out against it as being a transphobe or homophobe or whatever terminology they want to come up with.”
On addressing the culture war politically:
“Here’s what I would say, if you’re a Democrat, of course, you’re not in fear of doing these things, at least except for Election Day, when people with common sense actually punish you for it. But every other day, if you’re involved in this stuff, virtually every major media outlet in America is going to support you. That’s extended to sports coverage now. There’s really no part of entertainment media, for the most part, with the exception of Fox News [and] some online outlets. Basically, everyone’s going to support you. You’re not going to get taken down from Twitter or Facebook if you’re in favor of these things. In fact, you might even be promoted by some of their algorithms if you do some of the stuff. So, all the rewards are there for them to do it.
“If you’re a Republican and you speak out against this, you’re going to be labeled as a homophobe, as a hater, as a transphobe, all these sorts of things. Now, if you have a platform or you have a megaphone like a governor does…, [and] to some extent some of the national government, you can defend yourself.
“The whole lie about ‘Don’t say gay,’ that has nothing to do that. That is a complete and total lie. You want to talk about disinformation, that should have been labeled as disinformation. It was a flat out blatant lie. Now, fortunately, the governor of Florida has the megaphone and the courage to expose it for the lie that it is. But if you’re some obscure state legislator that no one knows and you just get labeled this way by everybody who covers you, you’re really defenseless in terms of how you can protect yourself. Yet many members of the state legislature stepped forward and did that. I think it really has to do a lot with that. The price you pay, the controversy that surrounds it, some people either don’t feel like they have the bandwidth, or frankly, don’t want to deal with the hassle of that.
“I think that’s changing. I really do. I think the reason why it’s changing is because there’s a lot of people out there that agree with you. I think there’s a growing realization that I’ve seen among Republicans. The bottom line is if most Americans believed a third of what mainstream, corporate media writes or says about us, there wouldn’t be an elected Republican in the country. I think that they just simply don’t have the influence or the credibility they did even a decade ago. That’s their own fault for lying and for putting things out there that are distorted.”
On Rubio’s top conservative priorities in the Senate:
“I think as a senator, the number one priority that I would say, I know it’s not the number one priority overall for the party and for the movement, is that our job is to confirm people. We’ve got some of the wildest, most left-wing people being nominated by this administration to position after position. We have a nominee now to the FCC that’s openly called Fox News, as an example, a state-sponsored media. If it were up to her, she would shut it down. If she’s going to be one of the commissioners, the tie-breaking vote on the FCC, just being able to stop that nomination is a really big deal.
“Obviously, we’re not a defensive movement. There are things I want us to be about. This is my personal view, I’m not sure it’s shared by everybody, but I really think the Republican Party needs to be a party that represents working class, common-sense values in American government. What I mean by that is the following. I always explain this very carefully. I believe in capitalism and free enterprise 100 percent. I do. I think socialism is destructive and it’s evil. I’m not for socialism. I’m not for government control of means of production. I do know, however, that we have a market that serves people, not people to serve the market. The fundamental question we have to ask ourselves is ‘What do we do when the market outcome is not in our national interest?’ As an example, the market outcome tells us, ‘Let’s buy more stuff from China because they do it cheaper.’ But it’s not really a market outcome. It’s a manipulated, distorted outcome because they’re subsidizing their industries, they’re cheating, they’re stealing, they’re banning our industries from developing. It is not in our national interest to depend on China for medicine like we do, for rare earth minerals like we do…. We have to have an answer for that….
“There are things we have to be able to make in America. There just are. We wouldn’t have an airplane industry if the Defense Department didn’t require airplanes to be made in America. We wouldn’t have a shipbuilding industry if they didn’t require it. The reason why we have that in place [is] because we don’t ever want to have to buy our airplanes from a foreign country, because they could cut us off….
“There are two things we’re for. We’re for economic growth but…also dignified work. They have to go hand in hand. We can have the fastest growing economy in the world, and that’s a good thing. But if it’s not creating good paying jobs that allow people to do some very basic things like get married, start a family, own a home, retire with dignity, leave your kids better off than yourself—if your economy is not producing jobs that allow people to do that—then our culture, our society is going to crumble…. The fact that we’re generating economic growth alone won’t help you. That growth doesn’t lead to the production of good paying jobs for Americans.
“There’s been a disconnect over the last 20 years, I would say, even in the center Right, between economic growth…and the creation of good, solid, dignified work for Americans. It hasn’t always worked out that way. Sometimes we have big economic growth and we have great corporate returns on a quarterly basis. But it’s not because they created good jobs for Americans, it’s because they were able to take those jobs somewhere else and produce the same thing at a cheaper price.
“There comes a point where that is not good for America and that’s not good for our country, and it’s going to lead to real problems. These are the kinds of things that I think we have to be for. How do we reorient, in the 21st century, our economic policies to the realization that China is not going to become like us now that they’re rich. They’re going to continue to cheat and steal, and we have to protect ourselves from it, or we’re going to wind up in a very bad place here before the end of this decade.
“There’s a lot of other important issues that we have to deal with, like public safety and security as a party. I would say to you that we’ve learned the lessons that we’ve forgotten from the 90s. The way to bring down crime is to arrest criminals and put them in jail for a long time. The more criminals on the street, the more crime you’re going to have. When you refuse to prosecute criminals, when you decide to release them early from jail, and in some cases you won’t even arrest them, you’re going to have more crime.
“I think associated with that is, for the first time in American history, we don’t have effective control of our borders. We don’t have effective control. Our border today is as controlled as much by Mexican drug cartels as they are by American officials, and that can’t continue. They are flooding our country with fentanyl. There are six, seven thousand people entering illegally a day. We have caravans of 15,000 people headed here because when you tell people, ‘Don’t come, but if you do, we’re going to let you stay,’ they’re going to come. And that’s what’s happening.”
On the best parts of being a father:
“I think the best part about being a dad for me is I understand it’s the most influential job I’ll ever have. Just to see your kids develop and take off with their own interests and their own success. I didn’t really understand that 10 years ago, if you were to ask me then.
“Now that I have two kids that are adults, one that’s a year away from being an adult, one that’s just starting high school, you suddenly start to see them developing in their interests and what they want to do. It was rewarding to have been able to influence that and provide them with those opportunities. You really do end up living through your kids.
“If you were to ask me what’s changed most in my life in the last 10 years, it’s the realization that at the end of my life, none of these other things I’ve done or will do will matter nearly as much as the time I spent with my family and with my children.
“I remember my own dad. He wasn’t a big talker. He wasn’t the kind to sit you down and give you a bunch of lectures. I learned from his example. He went to work every day and he came home every day on time to his family. He did that throughout my entire life. The example that he set is the one I hope to set for my children, and I hope my children will set for theirs.”