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ICYMI: Rubio Joins “The Truth with Lisa Boothe”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Truth With Lisa Boothe to discuss pro-life messaging, tensions in the Middle East, and the direction our country is heading. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On Republicans’ pro-life messaging:
“In general, anytime you’re on defense, you’re losing. I always go to people and say there’s two things we need to point to.
“The first is, if you believe abortion should be legal, then what restrictions would you agree to? No one ever asks that question. The media doesn’t ask that question. Most Democrats are never asked that question. They love to talk about total bans, six-week bans, 15-week bans. What they won’t tell you is that, in order to get the endorsement of all of these pro-abortion groups, you have to basically be for abortion at any time, for any reason, paid for by taxpayers. No one ever challenges these people on that. The overwhelming majority of Americans, even those who say they support abortion rights, will say, but there’s some limit, right? You can’t do it the day before the due date, right?
“The second challenge that we face is that this is not about passing judgment on anyone. This is not about trying to impose anything on anyone. We’ve got a complicated issue here. You have, oftentimes, very difficult circumstances that a woman is facing. And then you’ve got the fundamental right to live. And you’ve got to balance and decide, when these two things are in conflict, which one of these two rights wins out?
“I don’t have any shame in saying that I think the right to live needs to win out. But in addition to that, we have to understand that when it comes to abortion, the pro-choice people are actually not pro-choice, because what they are basically arguing is that, for most people, abortion is the only choice that they should be presented with. They create a scenario where a child is somehow a burden, somehow a terrible thing that’s happening. For those of us who are pro-life, it’s incumbent upon us to say, not only do we think you have a right to choose not to have an abortion, but we need to recognize that no child should ever be considered a burden or a bad situation. We need to be supportive of people who find themselves in those circumstances.
“What can we do to ensure that these men who are fathering children are living up to their responsibility on child support and not just taking off? What are we doing to be supportive if a young woman is in college and wants to finish her schooling? We need to be supportive of people generally, not just when they decide not to have an abortion.”
On pro-choice groups’ dehumanizing arguments:
“In order to justify something like this, you have to realize what all atrocities and terrible things are based on, and that is dehumanization. You have to convince people that the person who’s being impacted is actually not human or not fully human. That’s the argument that’s used by a lot of these groups. ‘That’s not really a human being. That’s just a clump of cells. That’s an embryo. That’s a fetus, but it’s not a human being.’ The ultimate argument they all become is, ‘They can’t survive on their own.’
“Well, there are a lot of people who are outside the womb that could not survive on their own. Infants cannot survive on their own. Many people who face disabilities and other serious setbacks cannot survive on their own. Are they less than alive? Are we prepared to say that’s not a life? There’s a huge slippery slope there. In order to justify something like this, you have to be able to argue that that’s not human life. And that’s something that needs to be called out.
“No matter what stage of development they’re in, a life is a life. It’s a tough issue, I get it. The circumstances oftentimes that are faced by people are very difficult, and you shouldn’t pretend that these are easy choices. But we have to give people real choices, including the choice of carrying a child without having it seem or feel like a burden, which is often what people are being told, that this is going to be an enormous burden, that it’s going to ruin your life. We need to change that dynamic.”
On Americans’ views on abortion:
“It’s a tough issue to analyze politically, because I’ve never viewed this as a political issue. I’ve said this before, and I really believe it. It’s such a fundamental and core issue that I’d rather be right on abortion and lose than be wrong on it and win. I think it’s that fundamental of an issue in terms of protecting human life and where it’s going to lead us, as a society, ultimately.
“It’s clear that there are a lot of people that are uncomfortable with the government telling them what to do in general. They were uncomfortable when the government was telling them what to do during the pandemic. In a situation like this, they’re uncomfortable as well. But when you’re playing defense, when you’re allowing your opponents to portray this as people wanting to tell people what to do with their bodies… that’s not the way I view it. I do not go into this saying, how can I control the decisions people make, women make and so forth, about pregnancies? We have an obligation to protect human life. I view it from the lens and the perspective of the unborn human being, not the perspective of controlling people.
“Part of the dynamic is explaining to people that if they don’t want a six-week ban or a 15-week ban or 21-week ban or whatever it is, what restrictions would they support? Democrats will never tell you what restrictions they support. They never will say it. There’s a reason why, and that is the official position of the left, though they’re never called out on it, is abortion on demand for any reason and paid for by taxpayers.”
On whether Republicans can reach a unified stance on abortion:
“The truth of the matter is that people have different opinions. This is not an issue that’s, from a political standpoint, black and white. There are people that are in favor of a 15-week ban or 21-week ban or whatever it may be, or a ban, but with exceptions. There’s a wide variety of flavors here in terms of viewpoints. If you want to be a majority party of people that agree on a bunch of stuff, but maybe have some differences of opinion as to how far these restrictions should go, then you need to accommodate that.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever have a unified message on abortion. What I think we should be unified in is to unapologetically ultimately say abortion is not a good thing. Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, we should agree that abortions are not therapeutic. They are not a good thing. They are not a cause for celebration. Irrespective of how you view it, we should all recognize that it is a tragic thing.
“I think we should also recognize that what we’re talking about here is the choice between protecting an unborn human life and the right of people, of women, to control what happens with their body. That’s the choice we’re trying to make here.
“The third thing we should be unified on is that, no matter how you feel about specific abortion restrictions, there have to be some restrictions, some limitations. Otherwise, we’re dealing with infanticide. What is that limitation? We should all be unified in at least demanding that those who are against us detail what it is they would support as far as a limitation. We don’t do that enough. We never challenge or point to the media and say, ‘I’ll answer your questions on this when you ask Democrats what they’re in favor of, what restriction they would support.’ They won’t support any restriction. They will never tell you what restriction they’re for.”
On the consequences of projecting weakness in foreign policy:
“There’s a line of thinking in American politics—it was clear in the Obama years, I think there’s holdovers from that in the Biden years as well, and generally throughout the West—that America is always wrong. ‘America’s bad. America is a source of problems in the world. We need to be apologetic about it. We need to be accommodating.’ There’s this idea that somehow, if we were just nicer, if we would just admit that we’ve made mistakes, if we would just try to create space and accommodate enemies and people who have fundamentally different views of what they want the world to look like, then they would like us more and behave better.
“In addition, the Biden Administration went in with a very clear mandate, and that is, ‘Whatever Trump was for, we need to be against,’ even if it made sense. ‘If he did it, we have to be the opposite of it.’
“But we live in the real world. Other countries are not governed by people that have guilt trips, but rather by people that are focused on their national interests and ambitions, Whether it’s the Houthis, Iran, North Korea, Vladimir Putin, or the Chinese, they don’t care about all this other stuff. They’re not interested in public opinion or being popular at Davos. What they care about is: ‘What is in the interest of our country or our movement? We’re going to do whatever it takes to further that.’
“The Houthis are basically a band of pirates who now have pretty sophisticated weapons provided to them by Iran. They have the ability to target commercial shipping, which poses the risk of inflating prices all over the world and disrupting the flow of energy and the like. We are conducting military operations against the Houthis because they’re threatening to blow up oil tankers.
“The Biden Administration said we don’t really need oil anymore, that we should now rely on renewables. They are now protecting sources of global energy that they say are bad for the world and that we don’t need any more of. It just points to their hypocrisy. That’s one of the reasons why we’re involved in protecting those shipping lanes, because of what it would mean to world energy prices.
“Generally speaking, projection of weakness is an invitation for aggression. It always has been. That’s human nature. That’s been true throughout the 5,500 years of recorded history. Now we’re seeing it again.”
On the rising tensions in the Middle East:
“First of all, it is ironic that Iran had an attack conducted inside of Iran at a ceremony in remembrance of the criminal Soleimani, and it was conducted by ISIS. Now Iran is striking ISIS inside of Syria, in Iraq, and in places where they might be hiding out in Pakistan. We are also enemies of ISIS, and we have troops, a small number that remain in Iraq and in Syria, to prevent a resurgence of ISIS. But the groups that Iran supports in those countries are attacking those troops that are there attacking ISIS, while ISIS is attacking Iran, and Iran is attacking ISIS back. It is a complicated mess of a situation in our hands.
“The other thing that is really eventful this week is a bunch of people on the left going crazy because Netanyahu said, ‘We’re not going to have a Palestinian state after this is over.’ In a perfect world, there would be an accommodation of some sort. It’s something Israel has attempted multiple times. But the reality is, who would govern a Palestinian state? Right now, the two groups that claim to speak for Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria and Hamas in Gaza, are both groups that teach little children that Jews are evil and that killing them is glorious.
“In the case of Hamas, we just saw the terrorist attacks they conducted. How could any nation possibly be asked to endorse the creation of a neighboring state that will be governed by people who want to kill them as their open-stated goal? That is an unrealistic expectation. Maybe 100 years from now, maybe 50 years from now, the conditions will be different. But right now, frankly, it is reckless to talk about turning over territory and standing up a nation state governed by people that want to kill you. No nation on earth would do that. I don’t know what’s so controversial about Netanyahu saying that.
“As far as the broader conflict is concerned, it could spiral pretty quickly, and part of it is there is no deterrence. The Iranians are not in any way worried, because even as Joe Biden is responding by some of these missile attacks against these Iranian-backed groups, really Iranian agents, who are attacking the U.S., we still have people trying to cut a deal with Iran. We still have people trying to meet with them and talk to them about how we can bring back Obama’s Iran deal. I think they view this as, ‘This country is so desperate for peace, we can basically go as far as we want and not really face consequences.’ I think Iran’s version of what the red line is is much further than what most Americans think it is.
“The threat here is we get sucked into another regional conflict, even though we don’t want one, and that’s the reality. We now face two global wars, both of which are putting strain on our country, and there is the threat of a third one, potentially, with Taiwan and China. It’s a complicated time, but the projection of weakness from this administration has definitely contributed to it.”
On the reasons for pro-Hamas sentiment in the West:
“The first reason is antisemitism. It is an ancient poison. It affects a lot of societies, and Israel is a Jewish state. First and foremost, that underlines a lot of this. The second is anti-Westernism. In essence, Israel is a Western culture and country. They’re a democracy. There’s this idea that anything that’s Western is evil and bad.
“Third, the global media, global elites, global corporate entities, and international organisms are all aligned in a narrative. And the narrative is, ‘Yes, it is terrible what happened to the Israelis, but they kind of deserved it, right? Because they’ve been killing Palestinians for a long time. And what they’re doing now is way overboard. It goes way too far.’
“These are the same people that don’t dare speak a word about the fact that the Chinese take Uyghur Muslims and put them in work camps and concentration camps and are committing genocide against them. There’s no talk of that. There’s no talk of the horrible atrocities that are committed by the Iranian regime. There is very little discussion about it.
“I think we need to recognize that there is this antisemitic, anti-Western movement that finds its home in the Marxist left. it’s not a surprise that these anti-Western elements that have been telling people forever that America’s evil, because Europeans and the Western culture is evil, are the same ones that are now out there, fomenting this pro-Hamas, anti-Israel position in our domestic politics.”
On the need for deterrence in foreign policy:
“Probably the single biggest geopolitical development of the last two or three years is a growing confederation of countries who have different specific ambitions, but share a common goal, and that is that they want a world in which America and its allies are less influential, and they are more influential. China obviously is the head of that, but the Russians have folded in underneath it. The North Koreans have seen benefit in it, the Iranians as well, and a host of other countries, to varying degrees.
“Under Biden, they see the perfect opportunity, because they see someone who projects weakness, both personally and also in our decisions that we’re making. When you are out there on your knees, begging to do a deal with Iran, you’re projecting weakness. You’re projecting the desperate desire to accommodate them at any cost.
“It’s so hard for us to understand this, because we have been raised to think that anyone can sit down and work anything out. We have forgotten a fundamental lesson in history, which is that, sometimes, you can’t work things out. Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini—throughout history, there are national ambitions and national interests, and the leaders of societies will pursue them, and there may be no accommodation with them. The only language such people understand is deterrence and strength.
“Deterrence isn’t just the threat of war. It is the attitudinal approach to it. It’s one of the things that I think really helped Trump. For all the criticism he used to get, there was a perception that, ‘We don’t know what this guy’s gonna do, but it’s not good for us.’ When Soleimani was struck, the Iranians complained, they threatened, they did their press conferences, and they launched a few rockets, but the next leader of the IRGC is not nearly as famous. You know why? Because he didn’t want to be identified as the next leader. It could be him who was taken out by Trump.
“It influenced their actions, because they honestly believed that there was somebody in the presidency who might actually do things, not just do some press conferences and talk about international norms. The real big problem here is that Biden projects weakness, both in his actions and in his personality, and that’s always dangerous for a country like ours.”
On the direction America is headed:
“I don’t remember the last time the majority of Americans felt like the country was heading in the right direction. I don’t remember when that was. It certainly hasn’t been in the lifetime of my four children, three of whom are no longer children. They’ve never known a country in which the majority felt we’re heading in the [right] direction.
“This country is broken. Our institutions are broken. Our economy is broken. The majority of Americans believe this is not a place where anyone has a chance to get ahead. We’ve turned our culture into something obscene and absurd. Then we’re shocked that more than one out of 10 men in America has a felony record.
“Life expectancy has collapsed because of suicides and overdoses. We have children, 15 to 17 years of age, with high rates of mental illness, winding up in our hospitals. There’s so much broken in our country. And our foreign policy… We’re now having two wars, and the threat of a third one with Taiwan. This is a big mess that’s going to require a big solution.”
On the accomplishments of the state of Florida:
“I’m very proud of our state and everything it’s done and is doing. Like every state, I wish our property insurance was a little lower. I wish our auto insurance rates were a little lower. But I still wouldn’t trade it for any of these other places.
“I was at a CVS in Washington, DC about a month ago. I dropped in at nine o’clock at night. These people are just walking in and taking stuff out of the cooler, where the drinks were, as if it was their home refrigerator, just walking out the door like it was just normal to steal from the CVS. I felt terrible for the poor cashier, who ended up telling me he was an immigrant from Kenya. He told me, ‘I can’t do anything about it. As long as they don’t have a weapon, they tell us not to call the police.’
“I’m not saying that never happens in Florida, but you don’t see it like you do in these other places. I’m just glad I live in a normal place. I hope we can get back to living in a normal country.”