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ICYMI: Rubio Joins the Loop Cast
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined the Loop Cast to discuss Florida’s success story, pro-family policy, and more. See below for a lightly edited transcript and listen to the full interview here. Watch the interview on YouTube.
On why Florida has become more conservative:
“Florida has changed a lot. A lot of people have moved here from other places, primarily because they don’t like living in San Francisco, where the streets are unwalkable, or in places where lunacy has taken over public policy. I’m not talking about differences of opinion, because we’ve always had liberals and conservatives and left and right. These are the things that make no sense, nonsensical things like, we’re not going to arrest criminals, but we’re going to crack down on parents complaining at school boards. A lot of people are leaving these places. That’s been happening for a while. That just accelerated with COVID and with this insanity and politics.
“The biggest divide in America today is not ideological or ethnic or racial or even gender based. The biggest difference is between people that take a shower after work, and people that take a shower before work. The people that take a shower after work, that work with their hands, I think they feel abandoned by the Democratic Party. I think they feel abandoned by the Left. That doesn’t know ethnic or racial boundaries. If you talk to working-class Cuban-American or Colombian-American voters, their views on a lot of these issues are largely indistinguishable from what you would find from a working-class voter in Missouri or Iowa or somewhere else. That trend has also accelerated over the last six years….
“People are happy with the governor. There’s no one that was going to beat Governor DeSantis last year. I had been in office for two terms as I ran for re-election. I have a record. We’ve helped a lot of people. Two nonpartisan groups ranked me as the most effective senator in terms of getting important things done for the country and for the state. There comes a point at which people vote for you because they think you’re doing a good job. I think that was a factor here as well….”
On the biggest issues facing working-class Americans:
“The sun always rises in the east. Now they’re asking us to pretend, sometimes it can rise in the west, sometimes it doesn’t rise at all. That’s what’s happening in public policy. On issue after issue, every single day, people are being told that, for example, it’s normal for thousands of people a day to cross the border of the United States. And if you don’t agree with me, then you’re a xenophobe. Well, how can I be a xenophobe? My last name is Rubio. My parents were immigrants. I’ve always supported immigration. What I don’t support is 11,000 people a day crossing the border and total chaos. I’m not in support of mass migration.
“I think that’s one of the things that concerns people because of common sense, because it’s their hospitals that are overcrowded. It’s their schools that are overcrowded. It’s their cities and towns that are overcrowded. When these people cross the border and then they go out, they go to these communities where their relatives live and where they have a support network of family and friends. They don’t go to Beverly Hills…. They don’t go to northern Virginia. They don’t go to these places, these enclaves around the country where people live in gated communities with armed guards and live fantasy lives. I think that’s a big concern on people’s minds.
“The cost of living, this whole notion of we got to save the planet. I’m not in favor of destroying the planet. I love the outdoors. I love nature. No one’s been a bigger supporter of the Florida Everglades, as an example. But I know this: If we force this country to transition to so-called clean energy that doesn’t exist right now, you’re going to bankrupt people. Most people can’t afford an electric car. Most people can’t pay five dollars for a gallon of gasoline and so forth. These are everyday things that people care about that are being applied to them. They want to feel safe. They want to feel secure both financially and physically. They want their kids to be given the chance to do all the things they themselves never got a chance to do. They want our schools to empower them to do that. That’s what they want our schools to do. That really has become really pronounced….
“At the end of the Cold War, we basically were governed in both parties by people who said, history is over. From now on, we’re all going to be members of this global economic community. It won’t matter where things are made, because we’re all part of this global economy. It’s called globalization. A lot of people got hurt by that. Some people got very rich off of that. And those people are very happy with that system. But a lot of people got left behind. If you were the worker at a factory or at some business that suddenly just vanished, you didn’t just get up and move to Silicon Valley and learn to write code. You got left behind.
“Now there’s the sense that after 30 years of doing that, it left our country vulnerable and left a lot of people behind and upset and angry. It’s manifesting in our politics, and it’s causing people that have voted for Democrats for 30 years because of unions or what have you to say, I’m not voting for those guys anymore, because they don’t care about people like me. On top of that, they’re trying to change all the rules that govern society for some agenda that’s supported by a small group of powerful elites who want to ram everything down our throats.”
On Disney’s lies about Florida law:
“Disney is its own government. They have their own fire, their own police [stations]. They don’t have an elected board. They have an appointed board that governs them. They did their own land use, zoning, permitting, etcetera. That was created by the state legislature in the 1960s, and it’s perfectly valid to go back and reexamine that. Why should some private corporation have its own government? Elected people said that shouldn’t be the case….
“Separate from that issue is Disney. They have all these people that live in California that are their writers, employees, and the like, and they force the company to opine. But my issue is not that they had an opinion about the Florida law. My issue is that they’re lying about the Florida law. The Florida law is very simple. It’s been changed now. But even today, it’s very simple. Here’s what it says: You can’t use schools to teach kids, you might be gay, you don’t know, it’s something you should think about. And you might not be a boy, you might be a girl, that’s a choice that you make.
“Look, this is a free country. If a 25-year-old man wants to live life pretending to be a woman, that’s their right. What you don’t have a right to do is make me pay for it. You don’t have a right to ram it down my kids’ throats. And you don’t have a right to demand that the rest of society live and change all of our rules on the basis of something that isn’t true. That really is what the pushback is against…. Advocates who are against it lie. Then the media makes it sound like somehow our schools are not simply not teaching these things, but are actually teaching kids to hate gay people or hate trans people. It’s just saying you can’t talk about this stuff.
“By the way, if tomorrow, they said we want to have Heterosexual Month and we want to ram that down people’s throats, I’d say, I don’t want my schools talking about that stuff. We’re already far behind in math, science, and history. Look at the recent test scores that emerged. We don’t have any time to spare on the social agenda, so people push back against it. And Disney, they were lying. They were misleading people about what the law did. So people said, why do we have this special benefit for a company that lies about public policy in Florida? When they examined it, they felt that it was no longer justified.”
On the rationale behind pro-family policy:
“We’re not talking about a law that says you must have more children, you must get married. It doesn’t tell you what you should do. It’s entirely incentive-based. We have public policy in this country here. We’re not anarchists. I am a conservative. I believe in limited government. But I’m not an anarchist. We have laws. We have rules. We have regulations. We have taxes. All of it has an impact on family and family life. It’s either a disincentive to family life or it’s an incentive to family life….
“Family is the most important institution in all of society. I say that because if family breaks down, nothing else works. I don’t care how much money you spend in your schools. I don’t care how many laws you pass. I don’t care how many police officers you hire. If family breaks down, nothing else works in a society. It’s the most important element in our society.
“Government can’t run families, and they can’t force you to have families. But what we can do is make sure none of [government’s families] are anti-family and, to the extent possible, are supportive of families. That’s my view of it. It is in the common good that we have strong families. All of our laws should be pro-family laws. You can’t force anyone to start a family. You can’t force anyone to have children. But if you choose to, our laws should be beneficial to you, not harmful.”
On Senator Tuberville’s stand against pro-abortion Biden appointments:
“If this was a Democratic senator that was holding up Trump nominations to the Pentagon for abortion access, that person would be a hero. That person would be the Time Magazine Person of the Year. That person would have been invited to the Met Gala. That person would have had a five-part spread in Vogue, and they would have been the subject of a CNN three-part series on how heroic they were. That’s a fact.
“One of the things that I think has unified Americans for a long time, irrespective of their views of what our law should be about abortion, is that the federal government shouldn’t be paying for it. That’s what this is. Federal Pentagon money. That’s federal money. When you use money to put someone in a bus and evade the laws of states and go to other states to pay for abortions, that is federal money that’s being spent. They are trying to circumvent what’s long been an established consensus in this country that [was supported by] even Democrats, like Bill Clinton.
“The Democratic Party looks very different today than it did just 20 years ago, even on this issue. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when a Democratic president said he wanted abortion to be legal, but safe and rare. You don’t hear that anymore. I support what he’s doing, because it’s the only leverage point we have with an administration that feels like they can do on this issue whatever they want, with zero accountability from the media or anybody else.”
On the FBI’s investigation of Catholic churches:
“[The FBI was] very focused on people that were tying [themselves] into these Latin Mass communities. I’ve attended a few here, and that’s a whole topic for another day, a very fascinating liturgy. I’m not anti-Vatican Two, but at the same time, I certainly see the value of tradition. And it’s amazing, when you go to these Latin Masses, the percentage of young people there is extraordinary. There’s something that is calling people back to the power of that liturgy.
“Now,…somebody had said to [the FBI], these Latin Masses look to be a place where a lot of weirdos gravitate, and they go there to plot crazy things, so let’s embed ourselves in that church. Take out for a moment the idea that that’s a Catholic church, and instead say that it was a mosque or a Buddhist temple or you name it, some other religious minority in the country. There’d be complete outrage in the country about it. I think the FBI itself has sort of disavowed it.
“In most of the field offices around the country, FBI agents aren’t out to get people per se. I think most of our problems that exist come from DC and the central office of the FBI. But I think it tells you the culture and the power that exists within some circles of the federal government, that we will define extremists as anyone we don’t like. Once you’ve defined someone as an extremist, that justifies the use of government power to monitor them, to crack down on them, to make life hard on them. I think this is evidence of that. It’s something we have to be very, very vigilant about in the years to come.”
On the importance of the First Amendment:
“The First Amendment is not completely unlimited. You can’t use free speech like…screaming fire in a crowded movie house that creates a stampede. You can regulate speech, time and place and manner, the way you do it, where you do it, when you do it. What you can’t regulate is what people say. Free speech means that people get to say things that I find to be offensive and outrageous. People do it all the time.
“There are Satanic clubs. There was a Satanic convention recently. You go on Apple Music right now, and they have an entire section, I forgot what the name of the music genre is, but when you open it up, it’s basically Satanic music. It’s bands that claim to be Satanists and the like. I’m not saying there needs to be a federal law to ban that, to stop it. I’m not a Satanist, I’m obviously Anti-satanist, but I acknowledge that to live in a free society where I have a right to worship as I please means people have a right to worship the way they please so long, obviously, as it doesn’t lead to violence or things that violate each other’s rights. It’s hard for people to accept that.
“We’ve reached the point now, and you’ve really seen it on the Left, we’ve seen it in academia, [at which] speech is violence. There’s certain speech that can’t even be allowed. We can’t even allow the speech…. Once you’ve made the determination that some speech should not be allowed because it’s offensive, because it bothers you, someone has to make that decision. Someone has to decide what’s allowable and what isn’t, and where do they stop? Obviously, that’s really the concern.
“So it is important for us to fight for this, because if we allow the First Amendment to be redefined as, you’re allowed to speak freely as long as I agree with you, that’s not free speech. But that will become embedded in our culture, our society, and in some ways already is. There’s movies Hollywood won’t produce. There’s stories the media won’t cover. There are people that the mainstream media and other entities and institutions in our society wouldn’t celebrate already. There’s already a level of censorship happening at that level. But to have the power of government behind it is a very dangerous thing. I think it’s the beginning of the end of the republic if we ever reach that point.”
On why we need to ban TikTok:
“There’s a lot of crazy stuff on TikTok. One of the reasons why we’re having this massive border catastrophe is there’s these videos on TikTok telling people Biden has lifted the rules and everyone’s allowed to go into the US now, a lot of disinformation that’s going to have a real impact. But it’s not the content, because if you got rid of TikTok, there’s equally crazy things being put up on Instagram and so forth. I think that’s the job of parents and others to be vigilant about that stuff.
“Putting that aside, the power of TikTok is not just the data they collect. It’s what they do with the data. That data is fed into a recommender engine. It is basically the artificial intelligence that knows you better than yourself. And the more you use it, the more it knows about you, so it knows what you’re going to want to buy before you even know you want to buy it. And then those are the best messages to reach you. That’s a tremendous amount of power.
“Now, that recommender engine, that brain behind TikTok is owned by a company named ByteDance, which is a Chinese company under Chinese law. That company has to do whatever the Chinese government tells them to do.
“That company can never sell that artificial intelligence, that recommender engine. That recommender engine only works if it’s fed data. I don’t care who owns TikTok. I don’t care if TikTok is sold tomorrow, 100 percent American. Tiktok won’t work unless it allows ByteDance in China to have access to that data constantly. And if you’re giving it to ByteDance, you’re giving it to the government of China.
“So what does it mean? It means that today, TikTok can be used to mislead migrants into believing that it’s now legal to enter the United States without a permit, if it can be used to convince young people that swallowing Tide pods is a good idea. That’s today. It can be used in the future to convince people that America is wrong and China is right, that we shouldn’t invade Taiwan, that Catholic churches are out there teaching horrifying things that government needs to crack down on. It can be used for all kinds of manipulation of our society that could create mass chaos, that could create mass division, that could basically eat us up from the inside out and weaken us, that could allow China to win a war against America before a single shot is fired. That’s the capacity this gives them.
“For us to allow that to be embedded in our society, not to mention the leverage it gives them over the small businesses that rely on TikTok, is insane. We should have stopped it a long time ago. But if we don’t do it now, we’ll never do it.
“I have a bill that doesn’t allow [TikTok] to make money in America…. Yes, it mentions TikTok and ByteDance, but the issue is not TikTok. The issue is that the engine that powers it will always be owned by a company subject to the Chinese Communist Party. Any company that has an algorithm like that, that is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and needs to have access to so much American data, should not be allowed to operate in the United States.
“Today it’s TikTok. Tomorrow it might be somebody else. But I just think that’s the only solution. If there were an easier way, I would go for it. By the way, I’ve been talking about this since 2019, so this is not a new issue for me. We should have done it back then. It would been a lot easier.”
On the illegal immigration crisis:
“I’m not talking about hundreds of people, I’m talking about tens of thousands of people coming in. They’re human beings. Most of them are decent people that want to work hard. Others are criminals. If you look at a thousand people from anywhere in the world, some of them are going to be bad people. I don’t care who they are. Some of them are criminals. We have to pay for them to put them in jail, and we have to deal with the consequences of their crime.
“People get sick. They have to go to our hospitals. People have to move around. They have to drive on our roads. Their kids have to go to school. Suddenly schools have to absorb kids in the middle of the year that they didn’t budget for. States are facing the impact. They’re frustrated, and they’re lashing out by trying to do these laws. But that won’t solve the problem. We’re not 50 independent republics. At the end of day, we’re a country, and people can move across lines.
“I’m a supporter of charity. We have all kinds of charities. We have a charitable group here run by a Catholic organization called Camillus House. It’s a homeless shelter, and they take in people every night. But you can’t just show up at the door. They say the doors are open from X to X time, we have capacity for 100 people. After we get to 100 people, the doors close for the night. That doesn’t mean there aren’t homeless people that wanted to get in that didn’t get in. But they can only do so much.
“If we went in there and said, we demand that you allow anyone who wants to come in to come in, not only would Camillus House have to house everybody in the community that wants to go in that night, but people would start coming down here and saying, there’s a place down there we can go. Suddenly a place that was built for 100 is now taking in a thousand. Is saying that I want there to be a process by which we distribute charity anti-charity? No, it’s just saying that at the end of day, it has to be measured.
“That’s true all across the board. Even for public charity, Medicaid, you still have to put paperwork that shows that you qualify for it. It can’t just be on demand. It is the same with immigration. I’m pro-immigration, but it has to be an orderly process. Our immigration process cannot be you show up at the border, you ask for asylum, you’re allowed into the country pending a hearing. You’ll never show up for that. All you’re going to do is serve as a magnet for 11,000 people a day to enter the country illegally. No country in the world can sustain that. Not even the United States.
“This is chaos. This is not immigration. This is mass migration. It’s chaos, and it’s bad for everyone except cartels…. This wasn’t the case 10 years ago, but now the position of many in the Democratic Party, because of the radical Left, is that any immigration enforcement, any, is xenophobic. That anyone who shows up in the United States, we should allow them in. That’s the position they’ve taken. Now they can’t support any border measures other than what’s cosmetic.
“Every time Biden or the White House says Congress needs to act, what they’re talking about is some bill to legalize people that have been here illegally. That idea is one that may, at some point, be something we have to address. We tried to, 10 years ago. But, that doesn’t solve this problem. Dealing with the status of someone who’s been here 15 years or 10 years does nothing to solve the problem of people who are going to show up today at the border. They’re completely unrelated. If they are related, it is that every time that you’re talking about creating some amnesty, it’s misunderstood. In other parts of the world, people hear America is going to pass a law that legalizes illegal immigrants, and they say now is the time to go.
“So there’s a lot of evidence to indicate that any debate over legalization would drive even more illegal immigration, because people would misunderstand it, and it would be misrepresented to them by trafficking networks. It is now the orthodoxy of the radical Left that is the dominant group in the Democratic Party that any immigration enforcement, any, is racist, xenophobic, and immoral.”