Presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) skipped the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on the Paris attacks in order to attend a fundraiser, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
The Committee held a Wednesday morning briefing called, “The Aftermath of Paris: America’s Role,” but the Senator was en route to Newport Beach, California for a fundraiser. The event costs $1,000 per person for general admission, $2,700 for a VIP photo opportunity, and $20,000 to be on the host committee.
Rubio’s presidential campaign has been battling criticism from Republicans and Democrats that he is an absentee Senator. This year, Rubio holds the title for the worst voting attendance record of of anyone in the Senate. His absence at the classified briefings will likely only intensify the attacks.
The Democratic National Committee attacked Rubio in a statement today:
“While the rest of the world is focused on the terror attacks in Paris, Rubio is skipping critical briefings on national security to focus on high-dollar fundraisers,” DNC spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said in a statement. “He excuses his poor voting record by saying the votes he misses don’t matter, but it’s especially galling when he’s missing national security briefings in order to attend ritzy West Coast fundraisers.”
This is not the first time the Senator has missed an important briefing.
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
In January, Rubio missed an intelligence briefing on ISIS and two other classified briefings because he was fundraising in California. In April he missed a closed Intelligence Committee briefing while in Texas raising money. And in September he missed a Foreign Relations hearing on the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.
Records show Rubio missed numerous hearings in the years before he announced for president. Those meetings covered a range of issues, from Al Qaeda to Iran and embassy security.
The non-partiasn, non-profit political research organization, Project Vote Smart, examined the presidential candidates’ voting records and found Marco Rubio’s record to be the worst:
Marco Rubio = 81 missed votes
Ted Cruz = 61 missed votes
Lindsey Graham = 51 missed votes
Rand Paul = 8 missed votes
Bernie Sanders = 6 missed votes
Rubio’s voting record isn’t just poor when it comes to foreign policy issues. Rubio has been absent when it comes to key domestic issues like Planned Parenthood. When the U.S. Senate was facing a possible government shut down over the defunding of Planned Parenthood in October, Rubio was once again absent.
Rubio has described himself as a pro-life presidential candidate, but failed to show up to the two important votes to defund Planned Parenthood. He missed the vote on a measure to continue government funding of Planned Parenthood because he was at a fundraiser in Florida.
The following evening, he appeared on Fox News to blast his Republican colleagues in the Senate for not fighting to defund Planned Parenthood. Rubio was then absent for the second vote that didn’t include a provision to end Planned Parenthood funding.
Despite his poor voting record, Rubio was present to cast the critical 60th vote to fast-track Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bill. Rubio’s rival, Donald Trump, attacked Rubio by saying he didn’t believe Rubio even read the bill. He added:
“I think he’s a man who doesn’t show up to Congress to vote, to the Senate to vote,” Trump told Breitbart News in September. “When you’re a member of the Senate, when you’re elected to the Senate, you’re supposed to show up to vote. He’s got the worst voting record in all of the Senate by far. That means he’s either a not hard worker or he’s maybe even something worse than that. But what you’re supposed to do if you’re elected, you’re supposed to be voting. There’s no excuses for that.”
Rubio’s spokesman Tweets that the senator had an earlier briefing about Paris:
Ooops! DNC so eager to attack Marco, they forget he is on Intel committee & had classified Paris briefing yesterday https://t.co/LPjK6q4M3G
— Alex Conant (@AlexConant) November 18, 2015