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Rubio Joins The Morgan Ortagus Show
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Morgan Ortagus Show to discuss the Israel-Hamas war, Biden’s botched Western Hemisphere policy, and rising tensions with China. See below for highlights, and listen to the interview here.
On the Hamas video screening Rubio hosted for Congress:
“It’s important for people to know what happened that day…. There were parts of it that were obviously very disturbing. But there was one part in particular which I think I can talk about without betraying any of the confidence they put in us when we watched it. And that is of one of these Hamas killers calling back home to his parents, talking to his mother and his father, and bragging about how many Jews he had just killed with his own hands. He’s almost crying, but it was tears of joy.
“It’s a lot like somebody calling their parents to tell them, ‘I just got hired,’ or, ‘I just got into the law school I wanted to go to,’ or, ‘I just scored a 1500 on the SAT. Aren’t you proud of me?’ And you can hear his mother in the background weeping out of joy, and you can hear the pride in his father’s voice. In essence, this guy is calling back to tell his parents, your son is a hero. He just murdered five or six Jews with his own hands. It gives you insight into what we are dealing with here.
“We are not dealing with people that are fighting for land. We’re not dealing with people that are fighting for sovereignty. We are dealing with people that are fighting because they want to kill or drive out, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, every Jew that lives in that part of the world. That’s what they want. They want to destroy Israel as a Jewish state, and they want every Jew to leave or die. In their mind, that justifies the killing of anyone who’s Jewish. Even if you’re not Jewish, and you happen to be in that house, because they killed people that weren’t Jewish as part of this attack, too, it justifies all of it. Their own death, by the way, is something to be celebrated, too.
“That’s the mentality that we are dealing with here. I think it’s important for us to understand why Israel cannot allow a group like that to continue to have rockets and the capabilities, not just to do what they did on October 7th, but to take any sort of action against them in the future. You just can’t coexist with an element like that.”
On Hamas’s responsibility for civilian casualties in Gaza:
“Children, innocents, and people who are not combatants being killed is always horrible. The question is, whose fault is it? It belongs to Hamas, because Hamas deliberately has done this…. They put their weapons, their rocket launchers on top of schools, daycare centers, nurseries, and hospitals. They build their tunnels, hold people there, and they use innocents as human shields, for propaganda purposes and because they believe that protects them in some way. They’re responsible for this.
“They knew what was going to happen when they crossed the border and carried out the slaughter. They knew Israel was going to respond forcefully. They didn’t care, and they still don’t care. In their view, if you die, or if you are innocent and killed, you are a propaganda opportunity and a martyr. In the end, if you die by an Israeli attack, in their mindset, it’s a glorious thing. If they’re willing to die themselves, why would they not be willing to have others die? It’s their fault.
“I know for a fact the Israelis are not saying, ‘Let’s go out and kill as many civilians or innocents as we can.’ They are not deliberately looking to inflict damage on those people, but they are attacking military objectives. Under the laws of war, as agreed to and ratified by almost every nation on earth, if you turn a hospital into a military facility, it becomes a legitimate target, and that’s what Hamas has done. I think the Israelis have gone about as far as you can go in a conflict like this by warning people of what’s going to happen. There would be a lot more people dead if Hamas were the one carrying out these attacks, that’s for certain. It’s horrible that innocents are dying, and Hamas is 100 percent to blame for it.”
On Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela:
“Maduro is a dictator. They have fake elections. He took power, and about a third of the country has left. He has driven and created a mass migration crisis. Venezuelans are now, on any given day, the largest group of people crossing our border, all of it driven by him and what he did to this country. We’re talking about a wealthy country that has oil reserves. It all started under Hugo Chávez. It has continued under Maduro.
“There’s other aspects of Maduro that we need to know. Maduro is heavily aligned with Iran. He buys weapons from Iran. He helps Iran evade sanctions. They help each other in oil sales and the transfer of that. We have to expect their cooperation goes even deeper than that, in terms of providing Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps elements and terrorists with passport services and things of this nature to allow them to travel and evade detection as they move around the hemisphere. It wasn’t long ago that Iranian operatives bombed the Jewish center in Argentina. So we know they’re active in the Western Hemisphere.
“The Trump Administration rightfully sanctioned [the Venezuelan regime]. What is the Biden Administration doing? The Biden Administration comes in and immediately looks for ways that it can alleviate those sanctions, because they have people in that administration that are in charge of Western Hemisphere policy that sympathize with every leftist element, including the Maduro regime.”
On the Biden Administration’s Latin America policy:
“We now live in a world, unfortunately, where we have an administration that mistreats allies. You have [Nayib] Bukele in El Salvador who wants to be friendly to America. We mistreat him. We mistreat the Dominican Republic. We mistreat leaders of countries that want to be pro-American. Those guys are the ones we sanction, or we do travel advisories against, or we condemn, or we have our embassies talking bad about them. But we are desperate to cut deals with Venezuela to buy more oil.
“That’s the other thing that’s ironic. The Green New Deal people in this administration and Congress are more than happy to sanction every oil company in the world. They want to wipe out fossil fuels. But they want to buy more of those from an enemy of the United States in Venezuela.”
On the Biden Administration’s naive agreement with Maduro:
“Biden agreed to lift some sanctions in return for them doing open and free elections within two weeks of that. [Maduro] has not just suspended the opposing party and the leading candidate against him for president, he’s now threatening to put [María Corina Machado] in jail. To me, that’s a de facto violation of the deal.
“The Biden [Administration] aren’t going to do anything about it, because in their mind, they want this guy’s oil in the global market. They don’t want to produce more here. They want to buy more from there, so they can take credit for gas prices stabilizing or going lower, so [President Biden] can get reelected, but they can also say, ‘We didn’t allow any more drilling in America.’ It’s dangerous, and it signals weakness.”
On the Venezuela-Guyana border dispute:
“Venezuela has this border dispute with Guyana, and they’re starting to position troops on the border. I don’t know if you’ll see a full-scale invasion, but I have no doubt you’re going to see multiple military provocations over this border dispute, because it’s a region that just discovered a lot of oil. Guyana has just issued leases to develop that oil. Venezuela wants to go in with military force or at least create enough controversy over it so that these companies will back out of the leases.
“It’ll be a real test to see if the Biden Administration stands by and does nothing. The last time they threatened to do that, the Trump Administration deployed naval assets off the coast of Venezuela, and that all died down pretty quickly. I don’t think you’re going to see that from [President Biden].”
On the rationale behind the Biden Administration’s foreign policy:
“[There are career diplomats] that either sympathize with these groups or always automatically feel guilty about American power and influence. Their automatic reaction to everything is to say, ‘Whatever America does, whatever’s in our interest, we shouldn’t be for it.’ It’s a mythology I don’t fully understand, but it exists in our foreign service. Part of it is, ‘If Trump was for it, I’m against it.’ That’s what they’ve done on the border, which is why we’re being flooded [with illegal immigrants]. And that’s what they’ve done in the Middle East.
“Yemen is a great example, because that’s where the Houthis are. The Houthis have no economy. How do they have guided weaponry? They’re not just launching crazy bombs, there are guided munitions. In particular, these are guided drones, guided ballistic missiles that can reach the sea. Where do they get this from? They didn’t buy this at Best Buy. They didn’t get it from Amazon.
“These are Iranian weapons. These are made by Iranians and provided by Iran, not just to the Houthis, not just to Hamas, but to Hezbollah and multiple groups inside of Iraq and Syria. Overnight, our embassy in Baghdad faced a barrage of missile attacks, all using Iranian weaponry. They call them Iranian proxy groups, but they are in name only. They are controlled by the IRGC. They are controlled by Iran. They are directed by Iran. They attack if Iran tells them to attack. They stand down if Iran tells them to stand down. They attack where Iran tells them to attack, and they attack with weapons provided by Iran. These are Iranian attacks, and it’s because they think they can get away with it.
“When Trump was president, they were afraid of him. It’s as simple as that. They saw the Soleimani strike, and they were freaked out by it. They felt like, this is a guy we don’t want to mess with. They’re not afraid of Joe Biden. It’s not a coincidence that five months after what happened in Afghanistan, you see this invasion of Ukraine. He has signaled weakness and ineptitude, and it encourages adversaries to take action.”
On the U.S.-China relationship:
“We need to increase the list of products that we should not allow sales to China on. It’s not simply selling them rockets and missiles, we’re talking about genetic information. We know what they use genetic information for. They’re using it to, not just beat us in precision medicine, but potentially design weaponry that kills people of a certain genetic makeup…. Everything in China is fused between the military and the commercial. There is no distinction between the two. Everything in China, by their law, has to work together.
“Xi Jinping believes it is inevitable that China is going to be the world’s greatest power. He views the United States as a great power in decline and in collapse. He feels like we’re in late-stage capitalism. Our culture is collapsing. He believes eventually there is going to be a big economic and commercial conflict with the U.S. and potentially a military one. He probably doesn’t want one, yet he tries to avoid that as long as possible until they’re ready. They don’t think they’re ready for that kind of conflict yet, but they’re building towards it, which is why, each day, they try to become less dependent on us for everything and anything they can. Ultimately, he believes the world is going to reach a point, probably sooner than he had anticipated, where China will be the most powerful country in the world, and America will not be. [Xi] believes he will replace us, and the world order will be a world order which China can control and dominate, to their benefit and at our expense. That’s how he views it.
“We need to wake up to that reality in everything we do. We can’t depend on them for 88 percent of our generic medicines. We can’t continue to depend on them for rare earth minerals. We can’t continue to depend on them for solar panels or electric batteries. [The Democrats are] going to put all this money into electric cars, so we will become even more dependent on [the Chinese] for the batteries and charging stations.
“There’s a lot to unpack there. But the bottom line is, we need to decide, do we want to live in a world where China is the most powerful country in the world and can tell us what to do? Because if we don’t, then we need to get to work, and we need to take this seriously, because they have a plan to do it, and we don’t have a plan to reverse that or stop it. We need to change that.”