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Rubio: ‘Make America Great Again’ Is Wrong, ‘America Is Great,’ But Could Be Greater

Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio stated that he disagrees with fellow candidate Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan because “America is a great country. The issue is, we could be even greater” on Thursday’s “O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel.

Host Bill O’Reilly asked Rubio, “Donald Trump is winning in all the polls right now. It’s August. But, still, a formidable force. Some of his supporters, not all, but some, are very extreme people. And we see the far left, how extreme the Democratic Party has gone. I just — I ticked it off, on how many crazy things that these people are supporting. I see a danger that the Republican Party may lurch into this nativist movement, and hurt itself. Do you see a danger there?”

Rubio answered, “Well, look, in 2008, 2010, and 2014, the American people voted to change things, and nothing has changed. So, they’re angry about it, and he’s tapped into that anger. And that anger should serve to motivate us to actually start doing something in this country. But we can’t allow anger to define us. It should motivate us to taking these issues seriously. But it should not define the Republican Party, or our nation. This is not an angry country. This is, by nature, an optimistic country of people always looking forward to the future. I understand why people are upset. And I, myself, was elected in 2010, at a time of great frustration, and I sat in the Senate for four-and-a-half years and watched nothing happen. It’s deeply frustrating. It’s one of the reasons why I’m leaving the Senate, and running for president. But I’ve got to tell you, we can’t let anger define us, because anger doesn’t solve problems.”

Rubio was then asked, “How do you overcome the emotion that he’s bringing to the race? And the — people are identifying with his anger. How do you overcome that?” Rubio stated, “Well, I disagree with his statement that he’s going to make America great. I think America is great. You know how I know it’s great? You don’t have American refugees winding up on the shores of other countries. You actually have people wanting their children to be born here. They want them to have that citizenship, we just talked about that a minute ago. America is a great country. The issue is, we could be even greater. We are not fulfilling our potential. And that’s what I want us to be about.”

Earlier, Rubio was asked, “anchor babies, should that law be repealed?” He answered, “Well, you’re talking about the 14th Amendment. I do not support repealing it. Number one, I don’t think we can. And, number two, while there is some interesting debate going on, as I think you pointed out in your earlier segment about ‘jurisdiction thereof,’ that whole legalistic question, the prevailing belief is that, in fact, it says that anyone who’s born in the territory of the United States, irrespective of the status of their parents, unless they’re diplomats, are US citizens. And that’s not going to change, and I don’t support changing that.”

O’Reilly followed up, “Isn’t the anchor baby law destructive to the country, because there are people sneaking in here, for the sole purpose of giving birth, so their babies, and themselves, and their extended family, because you know how the immigration works, are here. So, isn’t it a big ruse, and if so, why should we continue to have it?”

Rubio said, “So, that’s a legitimate issue. And let me tell you, I, of course, have read about how that’s happening in California, people coming from China, wealthy people, to have children that have US citizenship. They’re hedging their bets if something goes wrong in China, they can bring them back here. But I see it in south Florida, where I live. I’m not talking about poor people. These are wealthy families that come in eight-and-a-half months pregnant from Latin America, they go to the hospital, they have a child with US citizenship, they go back to their country of origin, and they’re hedging their bets that if things ever go wrong they have citizenship. I have said I am open to exploring ways to looking at people that are deliberately coming here for purposes of having a child. I don’t know how do you that. I haven’t thought that through, how you do that, given the 14th Amendment.”

Rubio concluded by summing up his economic speech from earlier in the day with, “I want this to continue to be a country where people can do for their children what my parents did for me, and that is give me the chance to achieve a better life than them, and the American dream. To do that, we’re going to have to embrace the new economy. We have to confront its challenges, but we have to embrace its opportunities. And, if we do, we’re going to have a 21st century that’s even more prosperous than the 20th century, and America will be leading the way.” And “We need to revolutionize higher education. We can’t keep graduating people with student loans, and degrees that don’t lead to jobs in the 21st century.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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