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ICYMI: Rubio Joins The Hugh Hewitt Show

Oct 18, 2023 | Press Releases

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss President Biden’s visit to Israel, Hamas’s disinformation campaign, the threat posed by Iran, and more. See below for highlights and listen here.

On President Biden’s visit to Israel:

“If by ‘other team’ he [President Biden] Hamas or Islamic Jihad, he’s right. I don’t know why he uses that terminology, but I’m glad the president’s in Israel today. I think it’s important that Israel’s enemies see that the U.S. is committed, and that a U.S. president is there to show that commitment. I wish he was a bit more specific and articulate about it in terms of how he speaks about it, because what we need to understand is happening here, is that this is not just a war on the ground with rockets being fired.” 

On Hamas’s disinformation campaign:

“There’s also an informational war going on. What really bothers me is, you see the press reporting immediately yesterday [that] ‘Israel strikes hospital.’ As it turns out, it’s not true. And the source of that information was what they call the Gaza health ministry. The Gaza health ministry is the Hamas health ministry. It is a Hamas-controlled organization. It is entirely under the power of Hamas, and they’re going to use every opportunity to try to smear Israel and to inflame the street. It has real consequences. 

“If you look now in Beirut, in Amman, Jordan, in Turkey, you’ve got efforts to attack the Israeli embassy, and in some cases the U.S. embassy as well. For example, in Lebanon, even as we speak, there are these massive protests outside the embassy. It’s a very serious situation. Everyone needs to be responsible here when they report information from this Hamas health ministry.”

On Vice President Harris’s response to pro-Hamas college students:

“With all due respect to Kamala Harris, who I did work with in the Senate, and got along with just fine on a personal level, she was not prepared to be the vice president of the United States. She was picked because the president narrowed the list of people he was going to pick. They had to fit a certain demographic criteria. But she’s just not qualified to be vice president, not to mention president. Here’s the other truth, and we need to be frank about it. There is an element of the left-wing base of the Democratic Party that is pro-Hamas, anti-Israel, certainly on college campuses. We’ve seen that be the case. 

“She’s there [before] an audience. She doesn’t want to get booed. She doesn’t want to get heckled. She doesn’t get screamed out. Somebody asked this question, and rather than firmly respond in a way that would resonate internationally and echo what the administration is saying, she gives this wobbly, meandering answer for two and a half, three minutes, thanks the person for their leadership, and doesn’t go any further than that. Instead of very strongly saying, ‘Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, and anyone who is here justifying what they did is on the wrong side of the moral framework.’ [It was] disappointing to see, but not surprising. Not surprising at all.”

On the future of the informational war between Israel and Hamas:

“The reporting is still, in many cases, about the outrage over what has happened and the terrible atrocities committed by Hamas. But at some point, the news needs something new, and it is going to pivot. It is going to pivot to this fight in Gaza, and it’s going to pivot to propaganda about what terrible things Israel is doing, how people are starving, how people are dying, without mentioning that Hamas knew that this attack would lead to a massive retribution and retaliation. They knew that that would put civilians at stake. Not only did they go ahead with this, but they hide behind civilians and use civilians suffering for purposes of their propaganda. That’s what we’re going to face here pretty soon…. 

“In the aftermath of such a horrible thing that Hamas did, it’s easy to be on Israel’s side and condemn it. But the real test is going to come here in a week and two weeks and three weeks, because this campaign against Hamas is going to be brutal, bloody, tragic, painful, difficult, but necessary. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world with imperfect choices, and this is the only choice before Israel, and that’s where the test is going to come. 

“I encourage people, when you see this reporting out there, understand that many of these media outlets in their very newsrooms have people, whether it’s the editors or producers, who sympathize with Hamas and the Palestinian cause and are anti-Israel, and it’s going to come across in the headlines. It’s going to come across in the reporting, and it’s going to come across in the selective reporting of certain facts to the exclusion of others. We need to recognize that as we’re reading this and understand exactly what’s happening here.”

On the Biden Administration’s failure to address mass migration:

“The most important job a president has and the most important thing the federal government does is protect our country. And I think national security includes not simply what’s happening in the Middle East, but what’s happening at the border. Egypt is not allowing a single Palestinian refugee to come across its border. They’re not allowing it. Jordan has put out these statements about how Jordan stands with the Palestinian people, but they’re not allowing a single one of them to come into their country. No country in that region is saying, ‘Send us the refugees.’ Only Westerners, particularly Europeans, do that kind of thing. 

“This country, no matter who’s coming across the border, cannot sustain mass migration. No country in the world can do that. And we are allowing it. That’s what people don’t understand. This is no longer about a wall or a fence. These people are not jumping walls. They’re not coming to the U.S. through tunnels, necessarily. They are openly turning themselves into border agents who have been instructed to process those people and allow them to enter the country. It is a blatant, flagrant ignoring of the U.S. law in a way that’s harming our national security. Because if 10,000 people come in across the border, some of them are going to be criminals, and a few of them may even be terrorists.”

On the Biden Administration’s desire to negotiate with Iran:

“[They have] this belief that Iran is a country that operates the way other countries operate. I’m not talking about the people of Iran, who I don’t think are supporters of the regime there. This is a regime headed by a Shia cleric who has apocalyptic visions of the end of the world and believes his role is to try to further that. He believes that their job is to create a Islamic bloc in the Middle East centered on Tehran. Their goal is to drive not just every Westerner, but every Jew out of the Middle East. That’s their stated purpose. It’s in the Constitution of Iran. 

“To believe that you can negotiate a deal with them the way you would with some country in Europe or even some country in Asia is ridiculous. But it is the fantasy world that these people live in. They think that if you sit down and talk, you can reach an understanding with anyone. You cannot reach an understanding with a group of people who seek your destruction as the ultimate purpose for their existence on the earth. You can’t. That’s what this administration has fallen into the trap of doing with Iran. It’s a continuation of the Obama policies.”

On the threats posed by China, Russia, and Iran:

“Our goals, our priorities, our objectives, are diametrically opposed to the objectives of [China, Russia, and Iran]. Now, I rank them. By far, Beijing is the greatest threat. They have the largest economy, the largest military, and the most geopolitical power. Russia under Putin is now an appendage of China. They’re a junior partner. Iran’s ambitions are at this point more regional, but nonetheless very dangerous. These three countries all say: ‘We have the same enemy, we’re sanctioned by the same people. Let’s get together and try to undermine that.’ 

“They will always look for ways to work together, when possible, to undermine or counter our national interest. The notion that the only way that breaks is for new leaders to come to the helm in those three countries, we can’t necessarily cause or force that. In the interim, we have to deal with the reality of what we have now.”

On whether the U.S. military is war-ready:

“I think they’re capable of executing a mission. For example, if we’re called upon to defend U.S. forces in the Middle East and beyond, we’re still the most capable military in the world. But I think our job is to look beyond what’s in front of us now, to what may come down the road, and [I am] very concerned about it. 

“We have a military that was largely built in a world where counterterrorism was our priority. We’re now returning to an era in which, not that terrorism isn’t a threat, but we also have great power threats from China, from nation-states. We need to have not just the mentality, but we need to actually have the equipment and the numbers and the equality and the type of weaponry that are necessary to engage in those kinds of conflicts. You can’t just start working on that once a conflict starts, you have to be a decade ahead of it.”

On the House’s struggle to select a speaker:

“If we don’t have a speaker two months from now, then it most certainly is a problem, because that means we have a government shutdown and other things like that. Imagine if we were in the midst of a shutdown right now in the middle of all this. That said, I don’t think there’s any Senate-imposed solution on that topic. It’ll have to work itself out, and I hope it will soon enough. It’s unfortunate, because it’s the one branch of government we have control of, and right now, it’s not open for business. As a Republican, it’s a problem. And it will be a problem in the long term. But I’m hopeful. I don’t have any back-door information, but I’m hopeful that that will work itself out here sooner, so we can get back to work.”