Senator Rubio Talks Election Earthquake with Clay and Buck

KAMALA HARRIS: Because, you see, what happens in Virginia will, in large part, determine what happens in 2022, 2024, and on.

CLAY: That is Vice President Kamala Harris. For once, I hope she’s right. I believe we are joined now by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Senator, this is probably one of the times that you hope Kamala Harris is right, too, in the wake of what we saw happening in Virginia, don’t you?

SEN. RUBIO: Yeah. No, I think she is right, and I’m glad she was so prescient about it. You know, look, it’s not that I think one election… It’s not that the people, for example, in Florida are gonna vote a certain way because people in Virginia voted a certain way. That’s not the point. I mean, the point is I think it’s pretty indicative of how far removed from reality the people right now in charge of the federal government are.

If you think about what they’re thinking this morning — and I haven’t watched a lot of it. But just hearing and reading a little bit this morning, there is a group over there on the left that actually thinks that the reason why they lost this election is ’cause they haven’t passed… They haven’t done more of what they’re threatening or want to do, that, in essence, if these things happen — if what they want became law — people would benefit from it and they would be happy and they would rather have them next November.

They still don’t get that people know exactly what they’re trying to do, are against it, and it’s the reason why they’re rejecting it. The way I view it is, for 364 days a year the people that run our corporate America, the people that run the media, the commentators, and a lot of people in charge in government, they tell us what we can think, they tell us what we can do, they tell us what we’re allowed to say. But there’s one day a year called Election Day where the rest of us tell ’em how crazy they are. And that’s what yesterday was about.

BUCK: Hey, Senator Rubio, it’s Buck. I wanted to know what you think about the calculations that may be made now more broadly by your Senate Democrat colleagues but specifically by Manchin and Sinema after what they saw last night. It feels as though we’ve been living in an upside-down country for a while here where a very narrow margin…

A 50-50 Senate, a very narrow margin in the House, somehow justified in Democrats’ minds a massive, multitrillion-dollar additional spending package that they say is going to be, you know, a game-changer. What do you think happens now from the perspective of the Democrat holdouts in the Senate who haven’t gone along? I mean, is their position strengthened? What happens to the Biden Build Back Better agenda is what I’m really asking.

SEN. RUBIO: Well, I think they point to what happened yesterday as a reason why they’re right and why this overreach is gonna cost them even more seats and I think they make that argument now from a political standpoint. I don’t think that changes the true believers — The Squad and people like that — because these people, at the end of the day, often come from districts and/or states where they’re not gonna lose, and they’re pushing in radical agenda.

But the broader one point is the one you made at the outset and that is that somehow people with a 50-50 Senate, three- or four-vote majority in the House and the slimmest of margins that have Joe Biden living in the White House somehow think was a mandate to radically remake the country, that people put them there to take us this far left, that’s not what he campaigned on.

There’s a reason why he didn’t campaign on the agenda. You know, Candidate Biden and President Biden are two different people. What Biden campaigned on is not how he’s governing but somehow they think that they have this mandate to do these radical things — and people are gonna start pushing back and they’ve already started, started yesterday.

CLAY: Senator Rubio, what time frame do you think we work through now? As you’re sitting up there in the Senate, there had been talk certainly of the October 31st deadline for infrastructure and also for the Biden budget. Is this something that happens before Thanksgiving now in your mind where they give votes? Do we push it to the end of the year?

SEN. RUBIO: Yeah, I don’t know.

CLAY: How do you assess the timeline?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, I don’t know.

CLAY: How much control the Republicans have at all over this?

SEN. RUBIO: Yeah. I don’t know. We don’t have very much insight and/or control over it ’cause they plan to do it without us so really there’s an audience of two or three that there’s focused on in the Senate and in the House a few more. But this proves our point, right? The infrastructure bill, I voted against it for this precise reason and that is it is a massage. It is the hostage is now being held and what they’re saying to everybody is:

“If you want this bill that a bunch of you guys agreed on,” I didn’t, but, “then you have to give us this other thing that only we agree on. And that’s the hostage they’ve taken. Now, whether they decide to release that hostage, I don’t know. It sounds like they’re trying to figure out a way to do that so that Biden can at least get something done and claim credit for something or an achievement on something.

But I don’t know. On the broader point, on the spending, let me tell you about reconciliation: It gives me no comfort that they’re gonna whittle it down from 2.5 or 3.5 to 1.75 trillion. It’s still a socialist expansion of the government. You put government in charge of pre-K in America, it doesn’t matter if you authorize it for two years or fiv.

You put the government in charge of pre-K in America and then you’re gonna tell pre-Ks what they can teach, who they can hire, and who’s allowed to provide it. That’s the power they really care about. It’s not the money. They care about controlling these things. It’s the last piece of education in this country they don’t control.

BUCK: We’re speaking to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Senator, my understanding is that the anti-regime resistance in Cuba is planning to become active again. There’s nationwide protests that are expected in a couple of weeks. This got on the radar here in the U.S. a few months back where it seemed there was real pressure, unprecedented pressure on the regime from inside of Cuba.

I want to know what you could tell us as somebody who understands this and follows it closely at the foreign relations level, about the fight for freedom from inside of Cuba — and then, of course, what is the Biden administration doing on this? Where is the Biden administration on this issue?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, on the second part there, they’re doing nothing on it at all. And in some ways, that’s good ’cause they haven’t reversed the Trump policies ’cause they make sense. In some ways, it’s bad, because the people in charge of the Cuba portfolio inside of this administration are the same ones that were in favor of the Obama deal with Cuba that was a disaster.

But my sense of it is that they don’t give it much priority, and to the extent they give it attention it’s handed off to lower-level people in the administration and at the State Department that are friendly with the regime, including the lady that now is in charge of Cuba at the State Department. She was in charge of putting together congressional trips to Cuba to hang out with regime officials and so forth.

On the first point, this effort to do this march on November 11th inside of Cuba, it’s not easy, right? I mean, there are people that are still locked up in arbitrary detention three months after what happened in July. They’re pretty brutal about it. They cracked down pretty hard. They’re pretty good at repression, unfortunately. So we’re encouraging and asking people to do something that I admit right now is easy to say from the outside but is not easy to do from the inside.

But I think there’s this realization by younger Cubans that another generation is gonna be lost to this, that their only choices are going to be to get out of the country or live the rest of their life languishing in the system that doesn’t work — it doesn’t work socially culturally morally or economically for them — and I think that’s being expressed and it continues to put pressure on a regime that’s willing to kill and jail its own people to stay in power.

CLAY: Senator Rubio, speaking of foreign affairs, I’m not sure if you’ve seen Enes Kanter. He’s a Boston Celtics players speaking out against Chinese dictatorships. He said something interesting yesterday and we talked about it a little on the show as well we’re right now scheduled, the world is, to be in Beijing for the Winter Olympics in February. Given all that has happened with covid, the lies that China has propagated, should we and other democratic countries like America be going to China and allowing them to host the Winter Olympics in February of next year?

SEN. RUBIO: With my let me know say two things. First of all, I’m not generally in favor of boycotting because it hurts athletes that have trained hard all these years to be prepared to go. That said, that said, I think we have to look very carefully at the conditions that are being placed for people that are going. So right now, they’ve violated all kinds of Olympic rules. They’re not allowing athletes to come in early and acclimate as they’re supposed to do.

We don’t know. I imagine they’re putting severe… I want to see how the media — the American media — covers the Winter Olympics because how can you be in China and not cover the fact that these abuses are going on there. And it seems like the Chinese authorities are gonna try to constrain and keep everybody in a locked-up area where they can’t go outside, and it will be interesting to see.

What I’m gonna really be watching is, how do the outlets that are covering Olympics and journalists who are sent there to cover the Olympic…? How do they cover it? I mean, do they actually…? Are they gonna actually write things and put things out there that are gonna be clear and brutally honest but not just the conditions in the Olympic villages and the conditions around there, but the conditions in the country that happen to host them?

Or are we gonna allow the sort of paid infomercial are the Chinese can sort of brag about all the advances they’ve made and ignore all the negative stuff they’ve done? That’s something to bear watching. I want to see how this is covered and whether these outlets and these sponsors pull their punches, because they’re interested in access and ratings not so much in being journalists or telling the truth or being on the side of what’s right.

BUCK: Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, sir, appreciate you being with us on the Clay and Buck show. Thanks so much.

SEN. RUBIO: Thanks for having me back. Thank you, guys.