As Ted Cruz rises to second place in Iowa, he has placed further philosophical distance between himself and Sen. Marco Rubio by coming out strongly against the President’s Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.
“I voted against TPA and I intend to vote against TPP,” Cruz said on Friday, according to the Des Moines Register.
By contrast, however, Breitbart News can now exclusively report that Sen. Rubio stands by his support for TPP.
After the last presidential debate in the spin room, Breitbart News explicitly asked Sen. Rubio’s campaign if Rubio was “prepared to reverse his endorsement of TPP.”
“No,” Rubio’s campaign manager Terry Sullivan said in response. “I mean, look, I can’t speak for Marco — only Marco can — but no, his position is solid on that standpoint,” Sullivan said.
When Breitbart followed up by asking specifically if Rubio stands by his April 29th op-ed in which declared, “we must… conclude and pass TPP,” a different campaign spokesman, Alex Conant, stepped in and affirmed that Rubio has not retracted his endorsement outlined in the op-ed: “Yeah,” Conant said, “We haven’t — he hasn’t — said anything since then.”
In that April 29th op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Rubio wrote: “We must rebuild our own military capabilities, conclude and pass TPP, and renew our support for freedom and the rule of law in Asia.” In a May 13th address to the Council on Foreign Relations, Rubio described TPP as the “second pillar” of his three-pillar foreign policy and declared: “It is more important than ever that Congress give the president [Barack Obama] trade promotion authority so that he can finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Rubio then cast the 60th and deciding vote to fast-track TPP. As Jeff Sessions has explained, voting for the fast-track mechanism is essentially a proxy vote for TPP. Sessions said, “A vote for fast-track is a vote to authorize the President to ink the secret deal contained in these pages—to affix his name on the Union and to therefore enter the United States into it.” That’s because fast-track eliminates all amendments, eliminates the filibuster and treaty vote, and authorizes the President to finalize and sign the agreement– as a result, no deal placed on a fast-track has ever been blocked.
This declaration from Rubio’s campaign is significant given that it comes after the text of the TPP had been made public. This means that Rubio’s campaign is continuing to signal that their candidate would vote to implement a 5,554-page global trade and regulatory deal. This places Rubio opposite of popular talk radio host Mark Levin who– in explaining why lawmakers should vote against the deal– said, “anything that’s two million words long, you vote against it.”
The Rubio campaign’s answers to Breitbart News’ questions, indicating that Rubio maintains his longstanding endorsement of TPP, veers from their prior campaign strategy — namely, attempting to signal that, despite his prior support for the deal, that Rubio is somehow now undecided on whether he will vote for it.
For example, after the Wall Street Journal recently published a news article stating that Rubio was among the 2016 candidates “still backing the trade legislation,” Rubio’s campaign got in touch with the WSJ and a new paragraph was added at the end of the piece stating that, “Mr. Rubio’s spokesman said that although he backed the bill granting Mr. Obama fast-track trade authority this summer, he has not decided whether to support TPP legislation.”
The strategy employed with the Wall Street Journal is consistent with the strategy Rubio employed during the Gang of Eight immigration push. During his aggressive media tour to push the amnesty bill through the Senate, Rubio would occasionally signal ambivalence about portions of the bill in an effort to mollify conservative criticism. In the end, however, Rubio enthusiastically voted for the bill and gave his most passionate speech in favor of the legislation just one day prior to the Senate’s vote. The Gang of Eight bill represents Sen. Rubio’s signature legislative accomplishment in the U.S. Senate. As Sen. Chuck Schumer explained, Rubio was instrumental in crafting the bill’s core provisions.
“He [Rubio] was not only totally committed— he was in that room with us, with four Democrats, four Republicans… for hours a day, week after week after week,” Schumer told CNN. “His fingerprints are all over that bill. It has a lot of Rubio imprints.” With regards to the bill’s provision for a pathway to citizenship, Schumer explained that Rubio, “understood it, he molded it… he was all for it.”
The Rubio campaign’s answers to Breitbart News seem to confirm that if Rubio is made President, the globalist trade deal will become a central “pillar” of his presidency — placing him directly at odds with Ted Cruz.
In recent weeks, Sens. Cruz and Rubio are increasingly representing distinctly separate sects of the electorate. In opposing TPP, immigration expansions, birthright citizenship, citizenship for illegal immigrants, and pledging to immediately repeal Obama’s DREAMer amnesty, Cruz has aligned himself with the populist electorate. By contrast, Sen. Rubio, who continues to support TPP and has reiterated his support for expanding immigration and citizenship for illegal aliens, has aligned himself with the GOP’s donor class. As Rush Limbaugh has said, if Marco Rubio is President while Paul Ryan holds the Speaker’s gavel, then in the “first 12-to-18 months, the donor-class agenda is implemented, including amnesty and whatever else they want. That is the objective here.”
While Rubio wants more immigration, Pew found that GOP voters by a more than thirteen-to-one margin oppose expanded immigration, and by a nearly five-to-one margin GOP voters believe the free-trade deals championed by Rubio will slash wages rather than raise them. Additionally, while 65% of conservative voters, according to Rasmussen, do not want to admit a single refugee from the entire Middle East into the United States, Sen. Rubio’s Gang of Eight bill contained provisions that would give Obama even greater power to bring in large numbers of refugees.
As Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz has explained, “Section 3403 [of Rubio’s bill] would have granted Obama broad authority to create entire classes of refugees by categorically declaring them eligible based on humanitarian grounds… In totality, this bill would have created endless avenues for this president to bring in an unlimited numbers of Islamic immigrants from the most volatile corners of the world.”
Rubio’s enthusiasm for Obamatrade which is unpopular with the vast majority of the GOP electorate could create some lift off problems for Rubio’s campaign, which up to this point has failed to take-off despite the media’s attempts to boost his candidacy. As The Washington Post has explained, despite the media’s hype about Rubio’s his candidacy, Rubio’s poll numbers have barely budged: “The Los Angeles Times says he’s ‘surging in the polls.’ So how much has Rubio risen recently? Ten points? Twenty points? Nope, nothing like that at all. While he he has ticked up a bit, a bit is all it is. We’re seeing the creation of a self-fulfilling prophecy, driven mostly by the media but probably with the active participation of elite Republicans who see general election potential in Rubio. By any objective measure, Rubio isn’t doing much better than he was a month or a year ago.”
This story has been updated.