As the Speaker of the Florida state House of Representatives, now U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was aggressively pushing for Florida to adapt to what he viewed as an inevitable “federal cap and trade program.”
In a politically damning video, Rubio backs cap and trade and argues that Florida—his state—should get in line to comply with the federal government rather than fight back.
“Florida should do two things,” Rubio said in 2008 on Florida television, in video discovered by Breitbart News.
First, Florida should position itself for what I believe is inevitable and that is a federal cap and trade program. Florida should do everything it can to be an early complier so it can access early compliance funds and so that it can help influence what that cap and trade looks like at the federal level. So I’m in favor of giving the Department of Environmental Protection a mandate that they go out and design a cap and trade or a carbon tax program and bring it back to the legislature for ratification some time in the next two years.
Cap and trade is an environmental system that hardcore liberals including former Vice President Al Gore support. A federal cap and trade program would be centered around a carbon tax.
“It will be difficult for sure but we can back away from the fiscal cliff and the climate cliff at the same time,” Gore said in 2012. “One way is with a carbon tax.”
Support for cap and trade is basically about as politically toxic a position as a Republican can take when it comes to the party’s voters, and ranks up there among GOP base voters as about as unacceptable a position as support for amnesty for illegal aliens, government-run healthcare, restrictions against the Second Amendment or support for open borders style international trade policies.
That Rubio has now racked up questionable behavior not just on immigration and international trade—which have been known quantities heading into this election cycle—but now questions about his Second Amendment stance, his actions on Obamacare, and even his work for cap and trade have conservatives questioning if there’s anything Rubio agrees with them on.
“Rubio’s record shows a questionable fidelity to some of the most important issues for conservatives,” Rick Tyler, a spokesman for Rubio rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), told Breitbart News when asked about the video of Rubio backing cap and trade.
And even where he might agree on the substance, he hasn’t stood on the front lines with Cruz, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions and the millions of conservatives trying to restore the rule of law, oppose amnesty, protect religious liberty, defend the Second Amendment, and resist environmental extremism. Indeed, on several issues – like gun rights or amnesty – he has either been AWOL or on the wrong side altogether. For instance, cap and trade is a massive job killer in places like Iowa, but he’s supported it in the past. I’ll let others determine whether or not that makes him a conservative, but his record is certainly a stark contrast to Cruz who has been in the middle of every fight that matters to conservatives.
Cap and trade support from Republicans has been catastrophic for them in Iowa. For instance, back in the 2014 U.S. Senate race, the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs uncovered how Mark Jacobs—then the GOP frontrunner—in 2007 backed cap and trade, just like Rubio did in this video. That basically blew up the Mark Jacobs for Senate campaign in Iowa.
“It’s a hot-button issue with Republicans who argue that cap and trade is a government overreach and would cause energy prices to skyrocket for everyday Americans,” Jennifer Jacobs wrote in the Des Moines Register.
Now Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) went on to win the primary and then the general election. Ironically, several of Rubio’s top aides–including Alex Conant and Todd Harris–worked for the Ernst for Senate campaign.
“Mark Jacobs clearly supports cap and trade,” Ernst wrote on Facebook when the story came out. “That’s very troubling to me because cap and trade will kill Iowa jobs. We need a Republican nominee to defeat Bruce Braley, not agree with him. I am 100% opposed to cap and trade, always have been and always will be.”
It’ll be very difficult for Team Rubio to spin their way out of Rubio’s previous support for cap and trade, since both Conant and Harris–and potentially others–worked for Ernst’s Senate bid that clearly benefited from this exact same line of criticism against Mark Jacobs.
Expect this video of Rubio and his support for cap and trade—and other questionable policies—to make the rounds in Iowa and New Hampshire in the final weeks before voting. While Rubio did change his position to being against cap and trade once he was in the dead heat of the U.S. Senate race against now former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, he made the same claims about opposing amnesty—and then once he got elected to the Senate he backed amnesty.
UPDATE 11:37 a.m. ET:
After publication of this article, Conant–Rubio’s spokesman–reached out to Breitbart News to argue that the Florida Senator was always opposed to cap and trade despite this video.
“Charlie Crist made the same allegation in 2010 and it was debunked then,” Conant said in an email. “Fact is that Marco stood up to Charlie Crist to defeat cap-and-trade.”
Conant sent several links to local news articles that hammered Crist over environmental policies. Such articles Saint Petersburg Times pieces, Miami Herald pieces, and more. All of them, however, came after Rubio made a political decision to oppose the issue when he decided to oppose Crist for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat. None of them came before, back when Rubio was Florida state House Speaker, and was supporting cap and trade.
WATCH RUBIO BACK CAP AND TRADE: