Washington, D.C. – During a press conference in Miami today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addressed the tragedy that transpired in Dallas last night.
A transcript of Rubio’s full remarks is available below:
Senator Marco Rubio: “Over the last three days our nation has been shaken by a series of violent and tragic events.
“First, we witnessed, in graphic video, the death of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Then last night we witnessed the coordinated and cowardly ambush and the assassination of five brave Dallas police officers.
“We are far from having all the answers about each of these incidents. And we should act with restraint until we know all the facts and they are all made aware to us.
“But I think we know enough to be able to speak some difficult truths. Truths that may help us find a way forward from these troubling times.
“Those of us who are not African American will never fully understand the experience of being black in America. But we should all understand why our fellow Americans in the black community are angry at the images of an African American man, with no criminal record, who was pulled over for a busted tail light, slumped in his car seat and dying while his four year old daughter watches from the back seat.
“All of us should be troubled by these images. And all of us need to acknowledge that this is about more than just one or two recent incidents.
“The fact is that there are communities in America where black families tell us that they are fearful of interacting with their local law enforcement. How they feel is a reality that we cannot and should not ignore. And as we work through this it will require us to ask and to answer some very difficult and uncomfortable questions.
“By the same token, all Americans, in every community should accept and openly admit that the overwhelming majority of the men and women who serve us in law enforcement in our communities are among the very best that our country has to offer. These men and women are the thin blue line standing between us and danger.
“They are the ones that are going to come to your home tonight when the alarm goes off. They are the ones who are willing to charge into a nightclub in Orlando to stop a terrorist.
“And they are also mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. They deserve our gratitude. They deserve to come home safely every day from work. And quite frankly they are tired of having to wear a black ribbon on their badge or having to attend a funeral because yet another law enforcement officer has been killed in the line of duty.
“There is no justification, there is no excuse for the targeted assassination of police officers.
“And there is no justice in ignoring the fact that for every case of real or alleged police misconduct, there are thousands of instances of bravery and of service that we will never hear about. That there will be no videos made of.
“And who among us, by the way, believes that it is fair to have ourselves judged by the misconduct of a small minority who happen to share our respective profession?
“I do not have all the answers. But I know this, we have in this country a terrible and growing problem. A growing and festering cancer in our country that is dividing us against one another in ways that we have not seen in half a century.
“It is a cancer that is fueled by anger and fear. Now we as Americans have a choice to make. We can feed this anger through posts on social media and careless words. We can stoke the fear by choosing sides and squaring off. We can choose to continue to divide ourselves along the lines of class, or race, or partisan politics.
“Or we can begin to truly confront this.
“Confront it by acknowledging the truth that despite decades of progress on many fronts, millions of our fellow Americans feel that they are treated differently because of the color of their skin. And after seeing videos like the one this week, they are scared that the next time they get pulled over one wrong move could be the last thing they do.
“We also need to confront it by recognizing that our law enforcers are human beings, who every day see and interact with the worst of our society. They deal with tragedy and violence and criminality and danger, and they do it so the rest of us don't have to. And while they are brave, they are scared too. They are scared that the next call they respond to may be their last.
“We Americans are a complicated, imperfect, and diverse people. We most certainly don’t see eye to eye on everything, and not everyone is pure of heart. But I truly believe that the vast majority of us all want the same things.
“We want to live together in relative peace. To have the opportunity to make our lives better. To leave our kids with better lives than our own. To see our country live up to its ideals.
“I hope that in these things that we share our country can find a way to move forward toward understanding, compassion, and healing.
“Americans everywhere today should pause and pray. Pray for the family of Alton Sterling. Pray for the family of Philando Castile. Pray for the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police.
“Pray for the families of the fallen officers. Pray for our country and for our people. And pray that God grant us the wisdom to move forward as one nation to truly confront the challenges that lie before us.”