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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Veronica LIVE
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Veronica LIVE to discuss the House’s impeachment inquiry, replenishing the Disaster Relief Fund, foreign policy, and more. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On the impeachment inquiry of President Biden:
“As soon as Republicans do anything in the House, the press [in Washington] immediately wants to know what Republican senators want to say.What they’re really looking for is, will you criticize the House? What they don’t do is ask a single Democrat about these efforts to use the 14th Amendment to kick Donald Trump off ballots, which is about as undemocratic as you can get. In fact, there’s an office holder in New Mexico who was removed from office that’s going to be appealed all the way up to the US Supreme Court using this very, fake argument about insurrections and all that to remove people from the ballot. Remember, when they impeached Trump after he wasn’t even president anymore.They didn’t do the impeachment because they wanted to remove him from office, they did it because they wanted to prevent him from running. [Democrats] never asked about any of that.
“As far as impeachment, I’m not a fan. It is an extraordinary move. If we start using it routinely as a political weapon, we turn into one of these countries that’s always impeaching people back and forth. What it sounds like to me is the House believes that they’re able to perhaps get evidence and information that they’re not able to get from the normal oversight role.
“These committees are subpoenaing documents, trying to get evidence, and they’re being given a stiff arm, and told we’re not going to give you anything. Perhaps they’ve concluded that an impeachment inquiry, which is what they’ve announced, not an impeachment process, gives them the subpoena power to go out and gather evidence.
“The most curious argument of all is basically the Biden White House saying you don’t have any evidence the president did anything wrong or lied, and we’re not going to give you any [information] since we’re not going to cooperate. You can’t find any evidence because we refuse to turn evidence over. It’s basically been their attitude and argument about all this. And some of it’s already been proven not true.
“When he said his son hadn’t made any money out of China,Hunter Biden, under oath, admitted he did. We already know the president has said some things about his business dealings that were not accurate by Hunter Biden’s own admission. That merits a further inquiry. I think [the House is] doing it through the impeachment inquiry process because they think they can gain more evidence that way than by being a committee sending out subpoenas.”
On the replenishing the Disaster Relief Fund:
“FEMA has an emergency fund. It’s money that’s put in there every year. So if an event happens, you can access it. It’s also money that’s used year over year. Once these storms happen, it takes a long time to pay these claims… It sometimes takes years to collect that money. In the meantime, some of these smaller counties and cities have actually borrowed money to pay for it because they needed to do it right away.
“What happens is when that fund gets too low, when there’s not enough money in the fund, [FEMA] stops paying the old claims because they want to save that money in case we have a hurricane or a wildfire in Hawaii.
“As early as June, I was saying, ‘Look, that fund is too low. We’re getting into hurricane season. We should replenish it. Let’s do it now.’ And of course, they didn’t do it. Then we’ve had storms. Now what’s basically happening is they’re using the money that’s left in the fund to just sort of cover the cost of whatever happens now and for the next few months.
“All of these people that had storms impact them, including in northwest Florida, but all over the country really are going to have to wait even longer to get their claims paid. So here comes the Biden administration saying, ‘Okay, we’ll replenish the disaster fund, but it has to be part of the deal to fund Ukraine. There’s differences of opinion on Ukraine, how much and whether we should do it at all. I don’t know why that has to be a condition of disaster relief. It’s just pure politics. You’re basically saying unless you vote to give money to another country, we’re going to refuse to give money to help Americans who have been impacted by natural disaster. I think that’s just wrong. It’s crazy. It’s immoral and politically immoral most certainly. I hope people are noticing.
“The Federal Disaster Responsibility Act separates things and articulates disaster relief for Americans on its own.Then we can have a debate about how much, if at all, we want to continue to be involved in the Ukraine thing. But the two should not be put together.”
On the United States’ national interest in continued funding to Ukraine:
“It is 100 billion. It’s not in cash. What happens is we give them ten missiles from our own stocks. These are our missiles. We have them in case we have a war. We give it to [Ukraine] and then we have to buy new missiles. So that’s the money we have to replace our own stocks. That’s a problem because our industrial base, particularly our military industrial base, can’t produce them fast enough. We have to be very careful that we don’t start undermining our own readiness. That’s one of the first things that’s really probably the biggest issue involved here. I don’t want Putin to win. I want Ukraine to win. Ukraine was invaded and I want them to win.
“There’s a national interest for the United States in that outcome, not to mention what it would mean to our alliances all over the world if all of a sudden we abandoned Ukraine. Now we have to decide how important is this for America and for our national interests, which is how we should always make our decisions, and then decide based on that, how much and how long should we be engaged?
“Just because you want someone to win doesn’t mean you give them everything . We all know people who are in need, but I need to pay my mortgage first and I have to pay my car payments. I have to make sure my kids are fed before I can donate to somebody else. That’s the same issue for us. That’s the debate that’s not happening here. No one’s arguing how important is this to us and what level of investment can we afford without abandoning or undermining our other priorities? That has to be tied to a strategy which [the Biden] administration doesn’t have on Ukraine… They come up with these dollar figures from nowhere. And if you’re not for it, then somehow you’re with Putin and want Putin to win.
“I think we have to make decisions the way we all make decisions in real life. And that is there’s a lot of things we’re in favor of, but it has to be measured by what can we afford, what do we have, and what can we afford to give while still taking care of our own needs, which are considerable when you think about how quickly China is growing militarily.”
On the Iranian prisoner swap:
“This is not the first time we[‘ve done a hostage negotiation . We did it with Venezuela. We’ve done it with the Taliban. We’ve done it with multiple places around the world. This puts a price tag, if you’re one of these violent gangs in Haiti right now, they’re basically taking over that country. You’re hearing about this and you’re saying, ‘Oh, my gosh, if we could get our hands on some Americans, we can make some money off this thing.’
“What you’re doing every time you pay these things, what you are basically doing is you are incentivizing the kidnapping and the hostage taking of more Americans. Because now these bad actors all over the world have figured out … you can make some money if you’re willing to take some Americans, hold them for a while, eventually the Biden administration will come around with some cash. You have turned Americans into a commodity to be taken as hostage. That’s what this incentivizes.
In addition to it, I don’t understand how we could be in negotiations with Iran on, for example, their weapons, nuclear weapons, and the like. This is an Iran that has openly said is trying to kill Donald Trump, trying to kill Mike Pompeo. Trying to assassinate them. At the same time as they’re taking American hostages, as they’re sponsoring Hezbollah all over the world in their plans to attack and kill Americans and already trying to kill Israelis.
“We’re at the table negotiating with these people over how many nuclear weapons we’re going to allow them to have one day. It just makes no sense to me, but it is sort of par for the course with this administration where they treat our enemies really well. Bend over backwards to make our enemies happy, and then they really mistreat the countries that want to be with us. I mean, just in our own hemisphere. If you talk to leaders from the Dominican Republic, Panama, [and] Costa Rica, these are countries that want to be friendly with America. All this administration does is criticize them or ignore them. Then on the other hand, we bend over backwards to cut deals with Venezuela, with Iran, [who] increasingly appears with China. It really makes no sense’
On the terrorism threat posed by the Middle East:
“The question is whether the radical Islamic threat is the lowest it’s ever been. Ahe answer is not in the sense they’re not operating like they once did out of Afghanistan because they’ve migrated to Africa where they are now. Every single day we have members of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and on the Shia side of Hezbollah, who actively, not just aspire, but planning to attack America and American interests all over the world and including here in the homeland.
“You don’t have to be a foreign policy or counterterrorism genius to figure out these guys have realized, for example, the US border is open, that if you wind up at the border and you turn yourself in, they’re going to process you and allow you to stay in the country pending asylum. That’s a much easier way to get terrorists in the United States with fake documents than it is by flying in with a visa on an airline flight from Europe or the Middle East.
“To believe that somehow these terrorists haven’t figured that vulnerability out and aren’t trying to exploit it, I know that that’s not true. I know they are. They can argue and say whatever he wants because he’s playing semantics. But the truth of the matter is, radical Islam remains a terror threat to this country, increasingly from other regions and parts of the world where they’ve migrated to. They have continued to aspire, plan, and try to attack America and American interests all over the world, including here in the United States”
On President Biden’s negligence to commemorate 9/11:
“[President Biden] was overseas on this trip to Vietnam, and that’s an important alliance or an important burgeoning alliance in terms of counting what China’s trying to do.Maybe they could have changed some of the timeline on that to make it work better. But, it wasn’t like he was [playing golf] golfing, so I’ll give him that [in that sense.] But that day is an annual reminder of two things.
“Number one, no matter how safe we think we are, our enemies are constantly planning and plotting to attack America. The other is a reminder of sort of the last time that I remember this country truly being unified by purpose. Think about how divided we’ve become in many ways, I believe, by design since then. But in the aftermath of 9/11, some of the fracture lines that today are used to pit Americans against each other and play politics, whether it’s race or gender or ethnicity, even partisanship. All of those were put aside because something really important and really bad happened to all of us. I hope there isn’t another terror attack, and I’m not sure the reaction would be the same in this environment.
“I’m reminded both of the extraordinary unity and response of the country in response to that and also of the vulnerability. No matter how strong and powerful we are, we remain vulnerable to terrible human beings all over the world whose ideology encourages them to try to kill innocent Americans wherever in the world they can find them.”
On Senator Tuberville’s blockade of military appointments:
“[Senator Tuberville is not blocking [them.] He’s just insisting that they be voted on as the rules of the Senate. He’s not doing anything that’s against the rules of the Senate. It’s [Senator] Schumer who hasn’t put up a single one of them for a vote. We vote on judges and nominees to all kinds of less important positions every single day. So we could have votes on these. Now, can you actually schedule votes on all 300? Probably not. But on the ones they argue are the most critical and the most important, Schumer is deliberately not scheduling votes on them because he wants this crisis that they’ve manufactured in order to make it sound and to misstate what Tuberville is doing.
“At the end of the day, it’s important to understand Tuberville is not blocking what he is insisting on his votes in the Senate. If people want to complain about how 250 of them are not being voted on because it was blocked, but at least the other 50 that are really important are getting votes on. That’s the logical thing to do, but Schumer doesn’t want to do it, and nobody in the press will call him out on the fact that he hasn’t scheduled a single vote on any of these nominees on the floor. [If] he scheduled a vote on the floor, they would pass, they’d be there. He just won’t do it because he wants the issue. This happens on issue after issue.
“This whole thing with the government shutdown, we’re not doing anything in the Senate right now under Schumer to prevent a government shutdown. He’s deliberately staging these votes so we don’t have time to finish because he wants there to be a shutdown so he can get political points and blame Republicans for it.
“If there were more seriousness in the way the media covered politics in Washington, you’d hear more about it, but instead it’s all they just take the line and repeat it and it becomes mythology in the minds of a lot of people is what’s happening. But it’s not.”
On the future of the U.S. and China’s relationship:
“Well, I don’t think you can fix the relationship [between the United States and China.] China wants to be a great power at our expense. We don’t want to give up our status as the world’s most powerful country. So we’re going to be at odds here for a while. I think our goal needs to be equilibrium.
“The reason why war has happened many times is because the person attacking thinks they can win. No one starts a war they think they’re going to lose. wWe have to make sure that China never believes that a war against the US will be fast and painless and easy. I think they have to constantly understand that our capabilities are such that if they attack us, not only do we have the willingness to fight, but the ability to inflict severe damage on them and win and put that down in them. That’s why military readiness and posture is so important.
“China is a large country, a thousand year old civilization. They’re going to be a rich and powerful country and they’re going to be an adversary and a rival,for the rest of my lifetime. There has to be equilibrium and balance, because if they come to believe that they can actually beat us and are confident that will invite adventurism, that’s what’s going to invite an invasion of Taiwan. That’s what’s going to invite them into starting a war with India,the Philippines, or Japan. That’s what we want to avoid. The only way, the best way to avoid it is through the deterrence that comes from strength.”
On the Senator’s opinion of the most important issue facing the country:
“We’re facing a lot of tremendous challenges at the federal level. Part of it is because the federal government is involved in too much and it’s gotten too large and too important in our lives. I hope we can reverse that.
“Right now, the most important issue we have to confront is we have an economy that no longer makes things. It’s cost us the kinds of jobs that sustain the American middle class. So you have a lot of people out there that feel a lack of security and stability.
“We’ve given away too much to China, both geo politically and economically. And that needs to be rolled back. That’s going to take a lot of work and it’s going to have a lot of resistance because there are people making a lot of money off this relationship with China in the short term, even though it’s bad for America. We’ve got to reverse all that. It’s going to take a long time and a dedicated focus on it. That’s what I’m trying to do in the time that I have here.”