Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said of the recent protests and violence at his rival Donald Trump rallies the it can “damage” America and the voters need to “wake up” and not encourage a “Twitter troll” candidate.
Rubio said, “That we can no longer have a debate in this country about policy differences without it resorting to the highest level of anxiety, anger. You see images of Americans now literally at each others throats, pointing fingers in each others face. Some of these protesters you saw in Chicago obviously were maybe organized, maybe even paid to disrupt an event. So I’m not excusing their behavior but these are not just the protesters in Chicago. These are multiple rallies where people are assaulted and beat up. Instead of condemning it, Trump is silent. When the guy is released from jail he says maybe next time we should kill the protester. Then he goes on stage and makes things up. He keeps telling the story about a general who dipped bullets in pig blood and shot Muslim prisoners. Not only is it outrageous, it’s a lie. Then he claims the guy that stormed the stage has linked to ISIS. He has turned the most important election in a generation into a circus, into a complete fiasco and a carnival and this country deserves better. At some point people have to wake up here. This is really going to do damage to America.”
He continued, “Here is the bottom line, he has said to people basically beat up the protesters and beat up the hecklers and I will pay your legal bills. Here is what people have to understand, maybe you think it’s a joke, but there are people out there that are not balanced. There are people out there that are not completely in control of themselves and they hear something like this from a leader, you don’t know what they’re going to do next. And when someone is seeking a position of leadership and is already in a position of influence, you speak responsibly. This notion that a president can just say anything they want or even a presidential candidate can say anything they want, whatever comes to mind, it’s just not true and it’s reckless and it’s dangerous. And, look, I hope people wake up on time and realize what’s happening here because if we reach a point in this country where we can’t have a debate about politics without it getting to levels of violence and anger, where people think just because you’re angry you can say and almost do anything you want, we’re going to lose our republic. We’re going to have a big problem. Those images from Chicago the other night, it looks like something out of the third world.”
“In the last five days would he have had stories about the guy getting sucker pump sucker punched at the Trump rally. You have a campaign employee allegedly assaulted a reporter at an event. You look at it and say enough is enough. At the end of the day we should all examine our behavior over the last year on this issue. We should all examine whether they have been quick enough and that includes the media. That includes your network that has given — not just you –I’m not picking on you, everybody else gives every one of Trump’s speeches wall to wall coverage because, while they may act outraged, they want to cover it and they want to get it live so they can talk about it and it drives ratings. We have to take a step back and say have we contributed to this culture that have turned the American political discourse to the equivalent of the comment sections in the blogs where presidential candidates are now basically Twitter trolls.”
Rubio added, “All the rules that once governed our discourse have been blown away and we’re headed in a very dangerous direction and, yes, there are people out there that are unbalanced. There are people out there that do not have control of themselves. We don’t know what they will do. And this applies to both sides of this debate.”
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