Press Releases

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, CBS’s Face the Nation, and NBC’s Meet the Press this morning to discuss ongoing Hurricane Michael recovery efforts and the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

            

VIDEO: On State of the Union, Rubio discusses Hurricane Michael and the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Rubio: Look, Panama City looks like Homestead down here in South Florida after Andrew. What I saw there, I didn’t see any electricity polls standing, or any wires still up. So that’s going to have to be totally rebuilt. Telecommunications is still a challenge. Mexico Beach is wiped out, I mean literally flattened out. And then something I hope we don’t lose focus on – there are a lot of inland counties away from the coast, where there are a lot of older people, a lot of poor people, people that could not evacuate, even if they wanted to, living miles apart from each other in rural areas, who have been badly hit by this. And right now many of them are even cut off. They don’t have phones, the roads are blocked, they might even live off a dirt road. We’ve got to get to them too. That’s going to be the one area that I really, really focus on, because I think that’s where the dire need is also there. And they’re going to be the hardest people to identify and find. We still don’t have an accurate assessment of how many people we have cut off from everybody else.

So they state government is in the lead, and what I said is it’s our job to make sure that if the state government is asking the federal government for something, that the federal government provides it. The state government is in charge of this response, and so far I have not seen any state requests that have not been met by FEMA and the federal government. There are additional federal assets out there that could be used, like the Department of Defense, and I could very well come back tomorrow when I go to some of those rural counties and argue that there’s more that needs to be done. But I am not prepared right now to tell you right now that there is a need that is not being met by the state government that the federal government can do that hasn’t been asked for. And I usually try to stay out of the way of the experts who trained for this. But if I find something I’ll jump all over it. I believe that the federal government is ready to provide any assistance that the state government asks for.

Rubio: I don’t think we should continue as business as usual, until we know what’s happened here. Because what we do know is this, he walked into that consulate and he never came out. So the only two things that could have happened is, he’s alive and somehow still in there or he’s dead, and the Saudi’s are the ones who did it. There’s no other explanation for it, because if there was video of him leaving, they would have shown it by now.

I don’t think we should go [to the economic conference in Riyadh] I don’t think any of our government officials should be going and pretending as if it’s business as usual until we know exactly what’s happened here.

         

VIDEO: On Face the Nation, Rubio discusses the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
 
Rubio: If everyone is waiting to find exactly out what happened, and frankly, this is the kind of case where we may never know exactly what happened—I mean, there’s a denial. With that said, there are news reports out there that there is some sort of audio, video evidence of what occurred. If that were to emerge or any other facts were to emerge, or frankly, if questions here aren’t answered—there’s no video of him leaving that facility—there’s going to be a big problem. I can just tell you that in Congress right now, there is no “pro-Saudi” element that’s going to stick with our relationship with Saudi Arabia as it’s currently structured. If in fact they lured this man into this consulate, killed him, and then, you know, cut up his body, and sent a team to go into that country to kill him in the first place, this is just an unacceptable thing. We should never accept that from anyone in the world. It undermines our credibility, and our moral authority around the planet to go after regimes like Putin’s, or Maduro in Venezuela or others. As far as options that are concerned, people talk a lot about the arm sales, our relationship with Saudi Arabia extends well beyond arm sales as well, and I would just say it’s unfortunate because Saudi Arabia is an important part of our Middle Eastern strategy. They are a key leverage and hedgepoint against reigning influence in the region, but that cannot supersede our commitment to human rights.

      

VIDEO: On Meet the Press, Rubio discusses the Congressional response to disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Rubio: Arms sales to Saudi Arabia are very important, not because of money but because he’s right they would buy them from somebody else. If they buy it from us, they need replacement parts. They need training the sort of things that gives us leverage over them. So there’s advantages to arms sales that have nothing to do with money.

That said, our moral credibility – our ability to call Putin a murderer because he is, our ability to call Assad a murderer because he is, our ability to confront Maduro in Venezuela or any of these human rights atrocities, like what we see in China – all of that is undermined and compromised if we somehow decide that because an ally who’s important as that we are not going to call it out. So I would just say this to you, with full confidence, if this is proven to be true there is going to be a response from Congress that is going to be nearly unanimous it’s going to be swift and it’s going to go pretty far. And that could include arms sales but it could include a bunch of other things as well.

Well at some point like I just said, when all the evidence is in we'll see. I saw an interview after the fact, after he said those things about the arms sales where he said if in fact this proofs to be true there would be a lot of punishment for it. It actually impacted the stock markets a few of Saudi Arabia, so ultimately I do believe that the White House, if this has happened and it could be proven, would do something significant about it. I believe they'll do it. I know Congress will do it.