Billionaire Donald Trump, the 2016 GOP frontrunner, tells Breitbart News he doesn’t believe Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) read Obamatrade before becoming the critical 60th vote for President Barack Obama’s trade agenda.
“No I don’t really believe him,” Trump told Breitbart News when asked if he believes Rubio’s claim he read the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) text before voting to fast-track it.
Trump’s comments came in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News backstage at the Values Voter Summit hosted by the Family Research Council last week at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
Trump’s questioning of whether Rubio read TPP before voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) zones in on one of the most critical weaknesses of Rubio’s presidential candidacy. “I can confirm Senator Rubio read the TPP text weeks ago,” Rubio spokeswoman Brooke Sammon told Breitbart News back in late June, after Rubio made a decision to become the 60th and deciding vote for Obama’s trade agenda—which TPA enables and essentially ensures passage through Congress.
But here’s the catch: Despite Sammon’s claim that Rubio read the TPP text before voting to fast-track it with TPA, Rubio and his army of political consultants haven’t been able to provide any evidence that he actually read it. The TPP text was locked away inside a secret room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol—as Breitbart News reported time and again—and the only place members could read it was inside that room. So, to have actually read it before voting for it, since TPP was around 800 pages long according to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rubio would have had to spend around two full business days inside the room reading the bill.
Rubio’s team repeatedly refused to provide any evidence to substantiate their claims. The key questions Rubio has for months now been refusing to answer include: When did he go to the room to read the bill? Since there were two separate times the Senate passed TPA, Rubio’s visit to the secret room could very well have happened—according to Sammon’s own statement—well after Rubio voted for TPA the first time, and it definitely seems to have happened well after Rubio threw his public support behind the legislation in the media like in a piece for the Wall Street Journal or in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Even if Rubio went to the secret room to read the text before all of that, too, since Rubio’s team has consistently refused to answer how long he spent in the room and point to exactly what time frame he was in there for it’s highly unlikely he even read the full TPP’s 800 plus pages before he voted for TPA. What’s more, Rubio’s vote for TPA fast-tracked two other trade deals that it’s impossible for him to have known what’s in them—the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)—since the text of those deals wasn’t even available to members of Congress never mind the public in the way that TPP was available to elected members of Congress.
Rubio’s team convinced then-National Review columnist Patrick Brennan to print an entirely unsubstantiated article claiming Rubio did read Obamatrade before voting for it—a piece that Breitbart News then thoroughly debunked shortly thereafter, raising more questions than answers. That now former National Review columnist is now working for Rubio’s presidential campaign, and the National Review has never disclosed that relationship—and continues to leave the unsubstantiated claims by Rubio’s campaign on its pages completely unchallenged.
Trump thinks, since Rubio has a horrendous voting record—he’s actually been absent more than any other U.S. Senator—there’s no way Rubio took the time to do his homework to figure out what he was voting on when it comes to the trade bill.
“I think he’s a man who doesn’t show up to Congress to vote, to the Senate to vote,” Trump told Breitbart News. “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.”
Trump also noted that Rubio’s history of working with Democrats instead of conservatives on legislation—like his work on the Senate “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill last Congress alongside likely future Democratic Senate leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other Democrats including the now-criminally-indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)—shows Rubio is “very weak.”
“I also think he’s been very weak—and I mentioned the Gang of Eight, he’s been very weak on immigration,” Trump told Breitbart News. “Now he strengthened it up after he went down the tubes in the polls. I didn’t appreciate, personally, when out of nowhere he starts attacking me for no reason. Every single poll has me winning the debate—Drudge, Time Magazine, you know that.”
About Rubio’s negativity and attacks on him, Trump said Rubio is acting like an amateur.
“I think it’s Mickey Mouse to be using somebody’s name to get some publicity—and to get some air time,” Trump said, implying Rubio is trying to attack him so he can get in the news.
What’s more, Trump focused on how Rubio’s work with Schumer doesn’t seem to have stopped with the Gang of Eight amnesty bill. He noted that Rubio’s support for Obamatrade was also backed by Schumer.
“It was a terrible bill,” Trump said of Obamatrade. He argues that, again, Rubio “was rolled.”
“Look, he got rolled by Senator Schumer,” Trump said of Rubio’s work on Obamatrade.
He got taken over by the Democrats. He approved a bill that never should have been approved. It’s going to prove to be a disaster for us. He knows nothing about business—all you have to do is look at his personal finances. He knows nothing about business, and frankly that’s a deal that should not have been approved. It’s a Democrat bill that Schumer wanted very much. It’s something that I opposed. First of all they don’t have—the key ingredient of the bill is monetary manipulation, currency manipulation. They don’t protect anybody with respect to currency manipulation. That’s the single biggest tool of how we get taken advantage of. So I think it’s a shame that he did it, I think it’s disgraceful that he did, and I think if he had to do it again, he probably wouldn’t do it.