The chief spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Alex Conant, confirmed to Breitbart News in an on-record interview on Sunday that despite some initial confusion over the past couple days about the wording of two separate English language transcripts of Rubio’s Spanish language interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos that aired this weekend, the thrust and meaning of what Rubio said was captured accurately by both transcripts—each of which shows just minor differences in wording, but not in meaning.
Rubio had appeared on Univision with Ramos to give a Spanish language interview, during which Ramos asked the senator and 2016 GOP presidential candidate specifically about DACA—the first Obama executive amnesty, where he provided starting in summer 2012 several hundred thousand so-called DREAMers with legal status via executive action outside the purview of Congress.
When Breitbart News published a story detailing the significance of Rubio’s comments—and how it shows he is out of step with most of the rest of the 2016 Republican field, except for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, when it comes to this—Rubio’s team initially claimed that the Grabien transcript, which Breitbart News used for its original story, was inaccurate and that they had minor issues with even the Univision transcript.
“Marco went on Spanish media this week and rejected a comprehensive immigration reform approach, said that the immigration executive orders won’t be permanent policy under his administration, and that he would oppose legalization today because we first need to prevent a future illegal immigration crisis by enforcing our laws,” Conant told Breitbart News’ Sarah Rumpf. “Marco also said it’s important not to end DACA immediately since it would be disruptive given all the people that have it but that at a certain point it would have to end since it cannot be the permanent policy of the land. In case anything was lost in translation, he believes we have to fix our broken immigration system in a series of smaller bills, starting with border security and enforcement, then modernizing our legal immigration system, and then eventually dealing with the illegal immigrants living here.”
Rumpf’s piece detailed several other wording concerns that Rubio’s team had with the translations.
But when reached by phone on Sunday, Conant confirmed to Breitbart News that both transcripts did, in fact, accurately capture what Rubio said in Spanish to Ramos on Univision: That he would, if elected president, not revoke Obama’s first executive amnesty until a legislative solution took its place.
“Right,” Conant said, when Breitbart News noted to him that “it doesn’t matter which transcript you look at, the substance of it is the same.” Conant also answered several detailed questions about Rubio’s position on how he would move forward with handling this matter—reporting that will be detailed in follow-up articles in the coming days on Breitbart News.
After some crosstalk, Breitbart News followed up with Conant by asking: “And so if you look at the other one [transcript], they [the two different transcripts] are all the same, in that he is saying on day one as president, he will not lift that executive action even though it’s illegal and unconstitutional. He will allow those people to have that status until there is a immigration reform [bill]—that’s what he’s saying, right?”
“That’s what he’s always said,” Conant confirmed yet again. “He’s always said he’s never wanted to deport kids who were brought here by no fault of their own, have grown up in America and consider themselves Americans but aren’t because of the way their parents or guardians brought them here at a young age.”
Even though Rubio’s team now admits publicly there was no difference in the meaning between the two translations, several of his allies have claimed that Breitbart News’ original reporting was inaccurate—and now they are clearly wrong. Among them are Florida GOP operative Rick Wilson, who contrary to Rubio’s team wrote via Twitter that the original Breitbart News piece was “entirely false.”
“I’ve said this a zillion times,” Wilson said, further contradicting Conant. “Right-leaning media has to be better than the sloppy hackery we see too often on the other side. Grow up.”
According to transcripts provided both by Univision itself and by the media service company Grabien, Rubio said he would not revoke DACA immediately upon election to the White House should he win the GOP primary then the general election.
“Well, DACA is going to have to end at some point. I wouldn’t undo it immediately,” Rubio said, according to Univision’s transcript. “The reason is that there are already people who have that permission, who are working, who are studying, and I don’t think it would be fair to cancel it suddenly. But I do think it is going to have to end. And, God willing, it’s going to end because immigration reform is going to pass. DAPA [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents — the second Obama executive amnesty announced in late 2014] hasn’t yet taken effect, and I think it has impeded progress on immigration, on immigration reform. And since that program hasn’t taken effect yet, I would cancel it. But DACA, I think it is important; it can’t be cancelled suddenly because there are already people who are benefitting from it. But it is going to have to end. It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States. And I don’t think that’s what they’re asking for, either. I think that everyone prefers immigration reform.”
The Grabien transcript was nearly identical, and had all the same meaning.
“I believe DACA is important,” Rubio said according to the Grabien transcript. “It can’t be terminated from one moment to the next, because there are already people benefiting from it. But yes, it is going to have to end. It can’t be the permanent policy of the United States, and I don’t think that’s what they’re asking either. I think everyone prefers immigration reform.”
Both transcripts include Ramos’s follow-up question with nearly word-for-word identical translations.
“But then, to clarify, you would put an end to DACA once immigration reform is approved, but what would happen, Senator, if there is no immigration reform; would you cancel DACA anyway?” the Grabien translation says Ramos asked Rubio.
“But then, to clarify, you would end DACA once immigration reform is approved. But what happens, Senator, if there is no immigration reform? Would you cancel DACA anyway?” the Univision translation says Ramos asked Rubio.
The two translations also have nearly identical Rubio answers to that question.
“At some point it’s going to have to end,” the Univision translation says Rubio replied. “That is, it cannot continue to be the permanent policy of the United States. I do think that if I wind up being president, it will be possible to achieve new immigration reform. It won’t be possible for it to be comprehensive; that is, they are not going to be able to do everything in one massive bill. We already tried that a couple of years ago. We have seen that the political support isn’t there, and I think we’ve spent a lot of time on this process when we could have started moving forward through the three steps that I advocated. Unfortunately, a lot of time has been wasted on that. It has become an even more controversial issue; harder to move forward on that issue. But I still say that it’s important to modernize our system, and that means improving the way we enforce it in the future, to modernize the immigration system so that it’s not so costly and bureaucratic. And we have to deal with 12 million human beings who are already here. And nobody, nobody is advocating a plan to deport 12 million human beings. So that issue has to be dealt with, as well.”
“Well, at some point it is going to have to end, that is to say, it can’t continue being the permanent policy of the United States,” the Grabien translation says Rubio replied. “I believe, if I become President, it is going to be possible to achieve immigration reform. It is not going to be comprehensive, that is to say, it is not going to all be in one massive bill. We already tried that a few years ago. We’ve seen there isn’t political support for it and I think we’ve wasted a lot of time in this process, when we could have made progress through the steps I’ve advocated. Unfortunately, a lot has been spent with that, it’s become an even more controversial subject, more difficult to make progress on, but I’m still saying it’s important to modernize our system and that means improving the way we enforce in the future, modernizing the immigration system so that it isn’t as costly and bureaucratic and we have to deal with the 12 million human beings who are here and no one, no one is advocating a plan to deport 12 million people, so that topic has to be dealt with as well.”
More details will be coming on this soon.