ICYMI: Rubio Joins Mornings with Maria
Feb 17 2022
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Mornings with Maria to discuss the latest on Russia and Ukraine, China’s partnership with Russia, his CRACK Act, and more. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
On Russia’s strategy along the Ukraine border:
“What’s great about the modern era is that commercial imagery from satellites — from companies, not even from American intelligence — is out there. You can see everything that is happening. You can’t hide anywhere in the world anymore. It’s clear the Russians continue to amass and increase numbers of troops in Belarus, Ukraine, and Crimea, in addition to the fact that they’re conducting these massive military exercises.
“You already see this morning that all the propaganda units of Putin's government are putting out narratives to set up a pretext, claiming that they’re about to be attacked by Ukraine. It’s all lining up. Ultimately the decision is up to Vladimir Putin. I believe he is going to do something, and why we should care about it is because I think this is going to have dramatic impact on global energy prices.
“Even if [the United States] weren't involved, [Russia’s decisions] would [have impacts worldwide]. That’s a baseline cost that adds to the cost of everything else when we already have runaway hyperinflation. It’s one more thing that points to [President Biden] making a terrible mistake in harming America's domestic energy capabilities, which would [otherwise] make us less dependent on global markets.”
On how oil prices are affected by Russia’s decisions:
“I don't think Putin believes [invading Ukraine] will ultimately disrupt his ability to sell oil and natural gas. Europe has become so dependent on it. If there are sanctions against major banks, I think there will be disruptions in the payment system. But ultimately, Putin believes Europeans will have to cave, because they got rid of nuclear plants, and they've become heavily dependent on natural gas, a lot of it flowing from Russia. They’re in a vulnerable position.
“I do think Putin is likely to invade because, in his mind, this is his best opportunity ever. Energy prices are up, which means more profit for him. Europe is deeply dependent [on Russian energy]. He thinks there is weakness in the White House. He knows [President] Macron [in France] is distracted by his own election. I think he thinks this is the ideal time and maybe his last opportunity to take care of his Ukraine problem.”
On the partnership between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin:
“I think it’s a strategic alliance. I don't think it’s a traditional alliance. But I’ll tell you how comfortable Vladimir Putin is with it: there is a whole area [of Siberia] that borders China…. The Russians have always had a big troop presence there for fear of an invasion from China or some sort of aggression. [And now] they’ve basically depleted that, they’ve pulled everybody out of there and shifted towards Belarus and Ukraine. So it tells you how secure Putin feels about that relationship [with Xi Jinping].
“The Chinese view this as a win in the long term because it distracts the United States and distracts global attention. And they’re going to watch very carefully and see what happens when a powerful country invades a weaker neighbor. What does the world do about it? And what leverage points can you create ahead of time to buffer [against retaliation]?
“I don’t think that means China will invade Taiwan next month or anytime this year, but I don’t think we can finish this decade without them doing something about Taiwan.”
On recognizing the threat of China’s human rights abuses on the global scale:
“The Chinese Communist Party sends agents into other countries, including the United States, to knock on doors of people to tell them, ‘You should come back to China and face charges because your family lives there.’ … There are some people that have caved in. A lot are afraid to go to authorities….
“In addition, China's economic power has turned Hollywood, the media, and corporate America into their agents and into companies and organizations that won’t question anything China does. They will actually push China’s narrative but are quick to criticize the United States, its government, its politicians, and its society.”
On how the United States should deal with the Chinese Communist Party:
“We have to take care of business here at home. That means we have to ensure that America is a country that has a manufacturing capability again…. Manufacturing has always been a source of really good jobs, and we need that. But we also need it because you can't be a great power if you're not an industrial power. We can’t let China deindustrialize us and help them do that. So that’s the first thing we have to do.
“The second thing we have to do is recognize that China is conducting a whole government effort to undermine the United States and supplant us as the world's greatest power. And that means they go into our universities and steal the research that, in many cases, is funded by American taxpayers. That's why this China bill in the House [of Representatives] is so concerning. It pours billions of dollars into the same exact processes that they’re stealing from. We have to wise up to that.
“And then there has to be accountability. We've had the intelligence agencies in public forums say that a lab leak is just as likely to be the source of COVID-19 as a natural occurrence. There are some people that will tell you it’s more likely. We don't talk about that enough. Bottom line, we know this: there was a virus that emerged from China, and it has ravaged the world….
“Think about everything we've gone through, not just the health aspect, but economics, the societal divisions, the fights we've had — all because of a virus that started in China, that [the Chinese authorities] wouldn't tell anybody about, wouldn’t share information about, and were probably, more likely than not, actually responsible for.”
On the Democrats’ blocking Rubio’s CRACK Act:
“I know the Democrats don't like to hear this, but [the government funding bill] is basically just the Trump budget being extended for two or three more months. They'd like to have a broader spending bill, and I think we have a chance to do that today.
“I have an amendment which they've offered to pass as a standalone bill that would prevent the federal government from sending drug paraphernalia to people who are addicted to drugs. We heard about that last week, that [the Department of Health and Human Services was] going to send out these kits that could be used to smoke meth and crack. I’d like to see my bill passed…. If [Democrats] come to their senses and support it, then I think we can get something done today.”