Jul 21 2021
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined CBS This Morning to discuss the recent protests in Cuba, the origins of COVID-19, and the Democrats’ attempts to pass a shell infrastructure bill. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
On COVID-19 in Florida:
“Ultimately, people should get vaccinated. The government's been telling people for a long time, ‘you shouldn't smoke, it causes cancer and heart disease,’ and people decide to do it. The numbers have come down, people still do it. They tell us to watch what we eat, because if you get overweight, you can develop diabetes and heart disease. But it still happens.
“Everyone should be vaccinated. There's no reason not to be vaccinated. I'm vaccinated; my family's vaccinated. People shouldn't listen to people that tell them not to. All these things that are out there being said are just not accurate.
“But at the end of the day, it's up to people to make that decision. In a free society such as ours, there's only so much we can do. We can provide information, we can debunk things that aren't true, and we can provide access. It is ultimately up to people individually to make that decision.
“I don't think the skepticism is just among Republicans. I see all kinds of voices that I don't think are ideological. It's people who decide they want to believe something they read somewhere.
“There are communities, for example some African-American and Hispanic communities in Florida, where there's a high hesitancy to get vaccinated as well for a lot of different reasons. It's really not a partisan issue. I don't care what the polling says. At the end of the day, the vaccine is the vaccine. It's a human thing. Either you take it, or you don't. There are people who don't want to be vaccinated and you can't convince them. I have family members, friends I've known for a long time, who just refuse to do it…
“Everybody should get vaccinated. Let me say that one more time. Please do. Because even if you get the disease… you don't go to the hospital, you don't get intubated, and you don't die.”
On the pandemic’s origins:
“Again, I don't know about the exchange. To be frank, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on here that I’m working on, and so I just don't see everything that's going on in every committee in the Senate. But I will tell you that ultimately -- I don't know what the exchange was, but if it was about what happened in China -- let me say this:
“I'm going to go back to the Director of National Intelligence, in an opening hearing of the Intelligence Committee, which I'm the Vice Chairman of, and she said, as a response to my question, that it is the assessment of the intelligence community at this point that there are two theories that are equally likely: that it was a naturally occurring event or that there was an accident -- that someone, whether they were messing around with some sort of experimentation -- someone in the lab was infected, and that person took it out in the general population and spread it to the world.
“There are indicators for both sides of it. I think there are some, in my view, circumstantial indicators about the fact that this happened to break out in the... very city where there's a lab that conducts these experiments where they take naturally occurring viruses that are not infectious to humans and make them infectious to humans so they can develop cures and vaccines for them. Coincidental? Maybe. But I think that's one of the things we have look at. Frankly, no one knows, and that’s the point. We should know at this point, and we probably would know if there was more cooperation from the Chinese Communist Party.”
On the ongoing protests in Cuba:
“A vast majority of people believe that if you have a different opinion from the government, the response should not be that you have your head cracked open, that you go to jail, that you're tortured in jail, that your family is stuck at home, and that [members of the regime] come and kick down your door, and grab people in the middle of the night. That shouldn't be the response.
“I think our response should be what I’ve asked President Biden to do. First, let's do a diplomatic surge. You know, they talked about how diplomacy was back. Why haven't we convened an emergency meeting of the Standing Council of the Organization of the American States? If… a multilateral organization of democracies cannot condemn what's happened in Cuba, what good is it? I would also say, ‘Why isn't the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in Cuba at this moment documenting these cases of human rights violations?’ That's what they exist to do.
“I also think, and this is bipartisan, that we should continue to develop the technology -- we've been working on it for a number of years now -- that can allow the people of Cuba to have unfettered access to the internet. There's the technology there, and the president should… go out and say, ‘Figure out a way to do it. Put the brightest minds on it, and let's get it done.’ That’s critically important. Those three points I think could make a big difference.”
On Sen. Schumer’s so-called infrastructure shell bill:
“Well, I want everybody to understand what they're voting on today is a shell bill. There is no bill. It's just something that's empty -- it's literally a shell bill. It's called infrastructure, but it has no details tied to it; [it’s] about something completely irrelevant. It's basically to start the process.
“So I don’t know how anybody can be asked to vote, to proceed on a debate on a bill that doesn't exist yet. We don’t know how much it costs; we don’t know how much it covers.
“I want to support an infrastructure deal. I have wanted to support an infrastructure deal for a long time. What do I want an infrastructure deal to be? I want it to help… mitigating against sea level rise. I want it to build roads; I want it to build bridges; I want it to develop broadband access. I want it to invest in infrastructure, as it’s traditionally been known forever up until a few months ago.
“And if we can come up with something like that, and it's paid for in a responsible way, then that's something I can be supportive of. And I hope we can do it -- the country desperately needs it. Florida needs it. I want to be supportive of something, and I hope we can come up with something that’s reasonable.
“But we've got to see what it is. I can't… give my opinion on a bill that I haven't seen, that hasn't even been written yet.”