On Sunday’s program of ABC This Week, Marco Rubio seemed to, once again, demonstrate his inability to answer questions with responses that have not been memorized.
In the aftermath of Rubio’s now infamous “glitch,” ABC host George Stephanopoulos pressed Rubio about his immigration record as well as the young Senator’s penchant for retreating to rehearsed talking points. Stephanopoulos asked Rubio three times about whether he viewed the Gang of Eight as a “mistake” and whether he has any “regrets about being for the Gang of Eight.” Rubio repeatedly dodged the question—perhaps because, as Breitbart News has previously reported, Rubio continues to support every substantive policy outlined in the Gang of Eight bill.
However, what was perhaps most interesting about the exchange was that in his responses, Rubio recycled the same memorized talking points he has used repeatedly in his efforts to expand immigration levels.
Stephanopoulos asked Rubio whether he viewed the Gang of Eight as a “mistake.” Rubio replied:
“I went to Washington to try to solve problems. Immigration is a huge problem in Florida. And I saw an opportunity to do the best we could in a Senate controlled by liberals like Harry Reid in the hopes that the House would take it up and make it even better. It happened in the Senate, did not happen in the House. Here’s the bottom line, that’s not the way we’re going to do it when I’m president. We have a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate and I’m president, we’re going to do it differently. We’re going to do it the way I want to do it.”
However, Rubio has repeatedly used that talking point—almost verbatim— on multiple different occasions.
Last Sunday, Rubio told Chuck Todd, “The Gang of Eight… was an effort to fix our immigration laws. It was the best that could be done in a Senate that was controlled by Sen. Harry Reid at the time. And then the hope was that the House would take it up and make it better. But it was a way to start that. “
He told Sean Hannity last Wednesday, “We’re not doing it that way when I’m president…That was the best we could do in a Harry Reid controlled Senate. And the hope was the House would take it up and make it even better and move it in our direction. It didn’t work out that way because they never took it up. Not only are we not going to do it that way, no one is going to do it that way because quite frankly the American people don’t support a comprehensive approach to this issue.”
In November, Rubio told Fox News viewers, “I was trying to produce the most conservative bill possible in a Senate controlled by Democrats and had hoped a more conservative House would make it even better.”
In fact, Rubio has repeated this talking point so many times that Donald Trump’s Senior Policy Adviser, formerly Sen. Jeff Sessions communications director, Stephen Miller mocked the talking point on yesterday’s program of Breitbart News Daily— prior to Rubio’s debate “glitch” and prior to his interview with Stephanopoulos. Miller said:
“Remember what Rubio always says when he’s asked about his involvement in the Gang of Eight. He says, ‘Well, I just wanted to get the best bill I could get out of the Senate.’ […] Every time Rubio says, ‘I tried to get the best bill out of the Senate,’ the unfinished part of that sentence is: ‘I tried to get donors and open borders interest groups the best bill for them that I could get out of the Senate.’”
In Sunday’s interview, Stephanopoulos again pressed Rubio on the point asking Rubio if he would sign his own bill if he were President: “But if that’s the best you could do, you would sign it?”
Rubio again dodged:
“Well, I don’t think that’s the right. I don’t think that law, the way it was constructed, could have ever passed, because most certainly I think when you look at the House and the broader population in America, people don’t want to move on immigration until you can prove to them that illegal immigration is under control.”
Interestingly, Rubio had previously been asked this question last year by Bob Schieffer. Then—like today— Rubio again dodged. Schieffer asked Rubio: “If you became President, would you sign the bill that you put together into law?” In response, Rubio blurted out, “Well, that’s a hypothetical that will never happen,” before he quickly moved on to his rehearsed talking points about his immigration plan. As Phyllis Schlafly recently pointed out in her 15-page Rubio “betrayal” memo, Rubio “refuses to say whether he’d sign his own Gang of Eight bill into law if he were President… To this day, Rubio has not backed off a single policy in the Gang of Eight bill (see more here). “
Stephanopoulos again pressed Rubio, “But no regrets about being for the Gang of Eight, being part of the Gang of Eight?”
At this point, Rubio reiterated his first answer to the question: “I went up there to try to solve problems, it’d be easier to sit back and just give speech and criticize what about what other people did. I went up there to try to solve problems. Immigration is a big problem.”
However, this is almost exactly the talking point Rubio used when he was trying to sell the Gang of Eight.
Prior the bill’s passage, Rubio “addressed fellow conservatives in a Senate floor speech on immigration.” His website explains that the speech was intended to address “concerns raised by Tea Party activists and leaders in the conservative movement on immigration reform.” Rubio told conservatives at the time, “I got involved in this issue for one simple reason: I ran for office to try and fix things that are hurting this special country of ours. And in the end, that is what this is about for me – trying to fix a serious problem that faces America.”Just before he cast his vote in favor the Obama-endorsed bill, Rubio declared in that address, “Truthfully, it would have been far easier to just sit back, vote against any proposal and give speeches about how I would have done things differently.”
Almost 24-hours prior to Stephanoplous asking Rubio if he “regrets” his role in the Gang of Eight, Stephen Miller told Breitbart News Daily listeners that Rubio will never apologize for the Gang of Eight. Miller explained why Rubio “can’t bring himself to even pretend to be remorseful about it”:
“The perfect question for Mr. Rubio is: ‘Why can’t you say ‘I’m sorry’? The fact that he’s never said these two words tells you everything you need to know about where he wants to go in the future. And those two words are: ‘I’m sorry.’ Because he’s not. He’s not sorry for a second… He believes to this day in everything that’s in the Gang of 8 bill and wants to be in the Oval Office so that he can implement everything in the Gang of 8 bill… The reality is that Rubio is proud of the Gang of 8 bill. And his pride for the product, for the contents of the product, is so intense that he can’t bring himself to even pretend to be remorseful about it.”
Below are a few other talking points Rubio tends to retreat to whenever he discusses immigration.
“I personally am open” to giving green cards to illegal immigrants.
As Breitbart News has previously reported, in recent months, Rubio has sought to muddle his continued desire to give citizenship– and thereby welfare access and voting privileges– to illegal immigrants.
As such, Rubio tends to tell voters that he is “personally open” to giving illegals green cards. Rubio does not tell voters— and indeed this strategy seems to bank on the hopes that voters don’t know—that a green card and a pathway to citizenship are the exact same thing.
Last month, Rubio was asked by an Iowa voter directly: “Yes or no question: Do you support a path to citizenship for illegal aliens?” Rubio replied in part, “I have personally said that I am open to them being able to apply for – not be awarded – apply for a green card. You can’t apply for citizenship, you can apply for a green card.”
Again, Rubio seemed to go out of his way here to deliberately confuse the fact that a green card is a pathway to citizenship.
During the December 15th CNN debate, when Dana Bash pressed Rubio on whether he continues to support a pathway to citizenship for illegals, Rubio said, “I’ve answered that question repeatedly… I personally am open to allowing people to apply for a green card. That may not be a majority position in my party…”
In November, Rubio told NPR: “After 10 years on the work permit, I personally am open to… allowing people to apply for a green card, just through the normal process that anyone else would use.”
Rubio told Sean Hannity: “Now the majority position in our party is it should stop at just a work permit … I personally am open to allowing people to apply for a green card.” Rubio added, “That is not a majority position in my party.”
We need to “modernize” our legal immigration system:
This was one of Sen. Rubio’s favorite talking points during the Gang of Eight push. “Modernize” our legal immigration system became a euphemism to cover up the fact that the Rubio-Schumer bill would have dramatically expanded immigration levels. According to Pew polling data, at least 92% of the Republican electorate opposes Sen. Rubio’s desire to expand immigration levels.
In a 2013 op-ed, Rubio wrote, “I am advocating for… modernizing our legal immigration system.” Rubio used the phrase constantly. In fact, in one 2013 press release, Rubio used the phrase more than 3 times– declaring that we need to, “moderniz[e] our legal immigration system… modernizing our system will grow our economy… The modernization of our legal immigration system will be a net benefit for America.”
Yet despite the bill’s unpopularity amongst the Republican electorate, Rubio has resurrected this talking point throughout his presidential campaign.
In August during the Voters First Presidential Forum in New Hampshire, Rubio declared: “we need to modernize our legal immigration system. We are the most generous country in the world on immigration. We admit one million people a year legally to the United States. But we do so primarily on the basis of whether or not they have a relative living here. We cannot afford to do it that way anymore. In the 21st century, legal immigration must be based on merit, on what you can contribute economically.”
Rubio told Bob Schieffer last year, that after securing the border, “step two [of Rubio’s immigration plan] would be we would modernize our legal immigration system,” he said. “Less family-based, more merit-based.”
During the September 16th CNN debate, Rubio said “we have a legal immigration system that no longer works. It primary is built on the basis of whether you have a relative living here instead of merit.” Rubio told viewers that after securing the border, “After we’ve done that, step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here.”
In April, when Rubio launched his campaign, he declared that if we “modernize our immigration laws… the American people will create millions of better-paying modern jobs.”
Breitbart News has previously reported about the Rubio team’s inability to answer questions that are not memorized. After the November Fox Business debate, Breitbart News asked Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant, if the Senator would support curbs to immigration. Rubio’s spokesman refused to answer, instead recycling Rubio’s Gang of Eight talking point about the need to “modernize our legal immigration system.” In 2013, when Rubio said “modernize” he apparently meant doubling the number of guest workers, and permanently resettling 33 million immigrants on green cards in the span of a single decade.
Breitbart: Is [Sen. Rubio] prepared to support any cuts to annual immigration rates?
Rubio’s Spokesman, Alex Conant: He said he wants to modernize our legal immigration system.
Breitbart: What does that mean? Does that mean increase or does that mean cuts?
Conant: It means we need to modernize to meet our economic needs.
Breitbart: So you’re not going to answer?
Conant: I’m saying our future immigration flows need to be based on our economic needs.
Breitbart: So is that the same talking point from the Gang of Eight [calling to] ‘modernize’?
Conant: I’ve answered your question.