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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Washington Watch with Tony Perkins
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Washington Watch with Tony Perkins to discuss the Democrats’ attempts to radicalize abortion, the latest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On the Democratic Party’s distorted priorities:
“The first thing we did when we got back from recess in the Senate is a vote on an abortion-on-demand bill that basically would wipe out, by federal law, any restrictions of any kind on abortion. [It would protect] abortion six, seven months into a pregnancy, when a child is viable. So I just think it tells you how messed up these people’s priorities are. Not to mention how macabre of a bill that is, to turn that into federal law. They knew it wouldn’t pass, but they wanted to have a vote anyway.
“We know that the Biden Administration has made a request for additional funds to provide, not just for refugees, but weapons and other munitions to the Ukrainians who are bravely fighting. That should have been the first thing on the floor. We know what the plan entails. They can just put that up. We probably won’t get to that until the week after next, and that’s too late, probably, at that point.”
On the Biden Administration’s response to the invasion of Ukraine:
“In times of crisis like this, I always try to pull my punches, simply because I don’t want to give anybody any encouragement, thinking that we’re divided here. I think we could do more. [What we should do is] something that Biden just won’t do because the left wing of his party won’t allow him to do it, and maybe he doesn’t want to do it either, and that is to increase American oil and gas production.
“By 2018, we … exported more oil than we imported, and that is now flipped around. Even as [President Biden] announces he’s releasing 60 million barrels from the reserve, half of the 60 million barrels are from foreign sources. He needs to reverse that. He won’t do it, obviously, because of the Green New Deal fanatics. But that’s something we could do.
“I also really think we need to be providing more information about troop movements to Ukraine, so that they can be more effective in fighting these invaders off.”
On Putin’s preparations to invade Ukraine:
“I think Putin looked up things. He looked at the price of energy and how dependent Europe is on it. I think he viewed that France is distracted by their elections and the U.S. is not just divided politically, but preoccupied with China. He figured this is probably his last chance to take back parts, or all, of Ukraine, or at least have a vassal state there and restore Greater Russia because he views himself as this great historic figure.
“[Putin] knew there would be some economic pain, but I think he calculated that this invasion would move quicker, Zelenskyy and the government would abandon their posts and take off, and the Russians would be there [to] take control of the country pretty quickly without much of a fight, and he’d probably be greeted as a liberator in many places.
“I think [Putin] expected there would be sanctions, but I don’t think he thought they would be as widespread as they have now become, which includes everything from being cut off of the international banking system all the way to the inability to fly anywhere. They literally have no westward flights, which really complicates things for them.
“[The Russian] economy is in freefall. I think a week from now, you’re going to have a very serious crisis in the Russian economy. I don’t think he anticipated that or the resistance he has met and how badly his forces have performed in the face of it.”
On how long Putin can make his war last:
“If Putin has some clear military objectives, and he’s willing to kill civilians and commit war crimes to achieve them, I think he’ll push through until that happens.
“The problem he has is that he can’t win. He’s either going to have a very bloody, protracted, and costly military engagement, or he’s going to have a very long quagmire occupation where the locals are going to be taking shots at him and Russians are going to be coming home dead every day.
“The Russian economy is in freefall because these sanctions that have been imposed aren’t going away anytime soon. So he’s got some real challenges right now.”
On if Putin invades other countries beyond Ukraine:
“I keep an eye on how far west he goes in Ukraine, because if it brings them up across that region that borders Chisinau, which is a disputed territory which the world recognizes as being part of Moldova, that’s something we will keep an eye on. [Along with that,] how far west he goes after getting to [the] Polish border.
“The further west he goes, the closer he gets to [the presence of NATO troops.] [Next is,] Kaliningrad, which is this piece of Russia that’s not contiguous. The only way to supply it and get there is by driving through this corridor between Poland and Lithuania, which are both NATO countries. So those are things to keep an eye out for in the immediate future.”
On Putin’s plan to seize and control surrounding countries:
“The world needs to start coming to grips with the fact that [Putin’s] plan is to impose a medieval-type siege on a city, which means you basically starve people into submission. The world has to start thinking…, ‘What options do we have to break it?’ Is it working through religious organizations to open up a humanitarian corridor? Is it the use of unmanned vehicles to airdrop in supplies, which was done by some non-government organizations in Syria?”
On the senator’s Ukraine aid bill:
“I’m working on a proposal that I want to present to the White House, and hopefully they’ll consider it. We can’t just sit by and watch that [siege] happen. I’m not claiming our options are easy and not without difficulties, and even some potential complications and danger. The world needs to ask itself if we’re going to watch an entire city of three million people get starved to death.”
On the stagnation of the Russian advance in Ukraine:
“I think the problem [Putin] has, and our Department of Defense has put this out, is that 40 percent of Ukraine’s air defenses are still intact, and that they have Stingers and things of that nature…. These planes are expensive. I think there’s real fear on the part of Putin to fly these things in and have them shot down.
“[The Russians] thought they were going to establish air superiority pretty quickly in this contest. And that didn’t happen. These are mobile launchers, they are individuals on the field — it’s not some fixed-base situation — and they’re hard to track down….
“[The Russians have] been trying to degrade [Ukraine’s defenses] with things like missile strikes. But I think that element of it has gone away, and so they’re relying on some really destructive illegal munitions, in many cases. That’s according to our own U.N. ambassador.”
On how Communist China will act in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine:
“China’s watching very carefully to see what happens when you invade another country or another territory that you claim belongs to you. At its core, Russia and China are making the same argument, which is that they are great powers, and that they have a right to create vassal states, tributary states, in their spheres of influence.
“There’s also complications. China is the first to argue against ‘separatists,’ whether they be in Tibet or Uyghur Muslims or Taiwan. They’re arguing that their foreign policy is noninterference. Yet here you have their allies in Russia supporting separatists. I would argue that if it’s okay for Putin to support Russian-speaking, fake separatists in Ukraine, then why shouldn’t the world support the legitimate, elected government of Taiwan, [which] doesn’t want to be a part of China? If [the Communist Chinese are] going to support Russia’s claim that these areas are independent of Ukraine, then why shouldn’t the world start to consider supporting Taiwan, saying that they’re independent of China? [The Chinese have] got some thinking to do in that regard.
“I still think that if they can get away with it, China is going to try to help Russia evade sanctions without incurring sanctions of their own. That’s something we need to really keep an eye on, thinking about how to keep that from happening.
“I think the Chinese have probably been shocked by the amount of global response to what’s happened [in Ukraine], but I also think they feel comfortable with their economy…. I think [Russia’s] GDP is the same as some of our states’. It’s a two trillion dollar economy. It’s the size of Italy. So it’s not a big economy. China’s is a much bigger economy. Our corporate class, our businesses, [are] much more ingrained there than they are in Russia. I think [the Chinese] feel like that economic power insulates them from some of the things that’s happening to Russia right now.
“And if [the Chinese] can break [away from] that international system and create an alternative one that Russia benefits from, I think they will really feel good about that….”