Marco Rubio, I speak Spanish. You lied about your Univision interviews.

GREENVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 18: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) waves during a campaign event February 18, 2016 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

It really pains me to have to call out my hometown senator.

I am often asked why, despite having so many personal reasons to support Marco Rubio (and to the great displeasure of some of my fellow Florida Republican Party leaders), I do not want him to obtain my Party’s nomination.

The answer is quite simple. Rubio says one thing as a candidate, as he did when I voted for him in 2010 when he ran as a conservative for Senate, and does another thing once elected, as he did when he co-sponsored the amnesty bill in 2013.

Rubio’s rise into national politics is based on one big fat lie that propelled him to the U.S. Senate, and it is incumbent among the Floridians who were betrayed by him to now stand up and tell the rest of America the truth.

Border double talk

My fellow Miamian wants to have it both ways – he wants to do the rounds on Spanish media pandering to their viewers and then go in front of the American people, in English, as he did on the debate stage in South Carolina this past weekend and pretend to hold a conservative position on immigration.

As a fellow Hispanic-American that has viewed many of Rubio’s Spanish language interviews on Univision and other networks, I thought it would be useful to the public debate on immigration that I help set the record straight by translating some revealing statements Rubio has made for Republican primary voters who may not understand Spanish. Here are a few examples:

  • In April of 2015, Rubio went on Univision’s “Al Punto” to promote his candidacy for President. Around the two minute mark of the interview, he said he would not immediately rescind President Obama’s illegal executive order of 2012 because it was important and helping a lot of people. He said, “I wouldn’t undo it [DACA] immediately as it is already benefiting a lot of people.” He went on to say that eventually it will end once immigration reform is passed, a sharp contrast to Senator Ted Cruz who has made clear he would rescind Obama’s executive actions on Day One.
  • In June of 2013, Rubio was also on Univision’s “Al Punto” just before the vote of his Gang of Eight amnesty bill. Around the three and a half minute mark of the interview, Rubio said, “First comes legalization of those here illegally, then comes border security.” He went on to say that legalization is not conditional. Then, in a grossly incorrect representation of Republican voters’ position, Rubio told the Spanish media, “The vast majority of Republicans in Congress and throughout the country support a pathway to citizenship.”
  • Rubio is not denying his support of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as he made clear in the December 15th Republican debate. However, Rubio misleads us in claiming his plan is even remotely close to some of his opponents in the Republican primary, especially Senator Ted Cruz’s, who in 2013 led the fight against the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.

In other interviews Rubio held with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, including one just before his Gang of Eight amnesty bill was due for a vote, he suggested that not allowing citizenship to illegal immigrants who are here today is somehow immoral because it “would create two tiers of residents in this country.” He goes on to say that he will lobby his “conservative colleagues in Congress hard” to get the amnesty bill passed.

Marco Rubio’s back-and-forth, misleading statements in the last debate regarding his comments to the Spanish press is unacceptable for someone aspiring to become President of the United States.

The American media and people should hold him accountable. Elections are tough. At the very least, Americans like the good people of South Carolina should know who they are voting for.

Manny Roman is Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party of Miami-Dade and Adjunct Professor of International Business at Florida International University (FIU). FIU is the largest Hispanic-serving university in the nation and the largest producer of Hispanic graduates in the country. Manny’s opinions are his own and not on behalf of any organization.


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