ORLANDO, FLA. — Marco Rubio spoke with Spectrum News 13 Orlando in an interview that aired today about his race against Val Demings, the overwhelming support from law enforcement for his re-election, the Biden administration’s failures to unleash American oil production, and more. The interview was conducted after Rubio was endorsed by the Florida Fraternal Order of Police.
To watch the interview, click below or HERE.
On Record High Gas Prices
“The most important thing we have to do right now is bring down fuel prices because the price of everything begins with the price of fuel, food, medicine, clothing, all of that has to be transported. So if diesel prices continue like they are right now, say they increase by another 20 percent, the price of everything has to go up by 20% because that’s how much it costs to ship it. So producing more American oil, providing more production of American oil is critical to bringing down inflation. The second is not pouring more government money into the economy right now. That is actually what hyper charged the current inflation we have. More money chasing less goods equals higher prices. Biden put 1.9 trillion dollars into our economy last April.
“You have an administration that’s telling everybody we’re not going to be using oil in 10 years. So why would an oil company invest money in a facility that you need at least 15 years using it just to break even to pay for the cost of new investments. Why would they do that when you’re telling them that in 10 years, you know, oil is evil and in 10 years everyone’s going to be driving a battery powered car. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have electric cars, but don’t expect the industry to produce more things when you’re threatening to put them out of business. Not only that, this administration has gone to banks and credit institutions and told them not to do business with, don’t lend to fossil fuel companies. and then on top of everything else, people forget oil and natural gas, you have to transport, pipelines are the way to do that. They canceled the keystone pipeline and they’ve added almost 2 years. They’ve almost doubled the permitting process for a pipeline. So it doesn’t matter how much oil you have if you don’t have the pipeline to transport it. You can’t get it. No ones going to invest either. So all these things, we’re producing a million barrels of oil less today than we were in 2019.”
“Because of these regulations. Why would a company, I listened to the president earlier this week start screaming at the oil companies to refine more oil. To refine more oil, you need to open up more refineries. Who in their right mind is going to invest money in an industry that you are saying you’re going to put out of business. So what the message from the president basically is, oil companies: produce more oil as we work to put you out of business. That’s silly. Oil companies, are they trying to make a profit? Absolutely. But the key is, they all are. So if today one company is making too much money, some other company is going to come in and try and undercut their price to capture market share. That’s how capitalism works. It’s not happening because there’s not enough oil and not enough oil means higher prices.”
On Biden Meeting with Crown Prince
“Well, I have no problem with them meeting with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. I’ve criticized the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. I have problems with the things he’s done – and Khashoggi is one of them. But it’s also an important geostrategic ally for us. They are a counterweight to Iran in that region. So even there’s got to be some pragmatism in American politics. My problem is not that he’s going to talk to them. My problem is, why do we think the solution to the problem is more Saudi oil? What’s the difference between Saudi oil and American oil? If oil as they claim is terrible for the environment, terrible for the future, then are you telling me that Saudi oil somehow is cleaner than American oil? Why would we depend on other countries for this? Haven’t learned the lessons from the pandemic? We have the ability to do two things at once: increase our renewables in this country – there’s nothing wrong with electric cars, I have no problem with any of that stuff. But right now we don’t have the technology to do it in a cost-efficient way. You cannot power an affordable modern 21st century economy on solar panels and electric cars alone. We need oil. We need natural gas. And the more of it comes from America, the less we’re going to pay for it, the less dependent we are, the less vulnerable we are and the better off we are going to be.”
On Support from the Law Enforcement Community
“Well, I can tell you why they decided to endorse me, because when police officers were in trouble, when they were being criticized, when their cars were being set on fire, when efforts in Congress were made not just to demonize police departments but to defund them, I was on their side and she went into hiding. In fact, when Minneapolis was talking about defunding the police in an interview she did, their proposal is ‘very thoughtful.’ When a bill came before Congress that allows people to individually sue police officers, she supported that bill. And I think what makes it worse is that she used to be in law enforcement. She should know better, but because her party is controlled by radical anti-police elements and because she wanted to be picked as Joe Biden’s vice president, she decided that she would use the credibility she should have had from being a police officer to attack police officers. To write an article in the Washington Post basically saying, you know, my brothers and sisters and police, what are you doing? You’re out of your minds. And another one where she implied the police departments are filled with racism. I think when you’re some person that never served in law enforcement, it’s bad enough. But when you actually know better and turn your back on them because you want to gain some position in your party, it’s far worse. Meanwhile, I’ve always been on their side.”
On the Contrast Between Rubio and Demings
“This campaign is going to be a very clear choice. For example, when small businesses in America were on the verge of being destroyed, I wrote and I passed the Paycheck Protection Program. It’s my law that saved millions of jobs. There’s millions of businesses in this country that would have gone out of business had I not done that. On three occasions, I have passed important bills to help our veterans. The two bills to reform the VA and just yesterday, we passed a bill that helps with toxic burn pits because veterans are suffering from that. Just yesterday we passed another bill, under a Democratic Congress by the way, I have been passing many of these bills, on the issue of the algae blooms that we’re seeing in central Florida water issues we have in our state. I’m a champion for Everglades reform. Multiple bills that take on China that have passed. I turn ideas into action and pass laws. I was ranked the most effective Republican Senator by two separate non-partisan groups. Val Demings has never passed a bill. Not one. She’s been there for six years. I want everybody to ask her, ‘well what have you done in the six years you have been there except do interviews on MSNBC and raise money for her campaign?’ She’s done nothing. So that’s the choice people are going to have. On top of that, she’s voted with Nancy Pelosi one hundred percent of the time. She’s never once voted opposite of Nancy Pelosi. I’ve voted opposite the leaders in my party on multiple occasions. So I would look at that and say that’s a big difference between her and I.”
On His Efforts to Help Veterans Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits
“People were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight. They have open burn pits. They breathe that stuff in. They come back and now they have brain cancer or they have emphysema. I’m not talking about 80-year-olds. I’m talking about 45-year-olds, 40-year-olds. And the VA doesn’t want to treat them because the VA says, ‘you can’t prove to us that your cancer was caused by those burn pits.’
“This creates a presumption. This basically presumes that if you have one of these delineated conditions, where we list out the ones that they are, if you have that, we’re going to presume that it was because of your service in a combat zone where they had open burn pits. And it was a big fight. A lot of people didn’t want to do it. They thought it cost too much money. And I’m thinking ‘well we’re going to send $40 billion to Ukraine, we don’t have money to take care of our veterans?’ So we got it passed yesterday in the Senate. Hopefully the House will pass it next week and the President will have a chance to sign it before the 4th of July I hope.”
“Well we never want to see it happen again. I think there’s more awareness now about some of the dangers that might exist in some of these buildings. The federal entity that has done the basic research on this hasn’t come back with a report yet on what caused it. But I think what we know enough about now is that clearly that was a building that had very significant design flaws and vulnerabilities that were not addressed. There’s a sister building right next door to it that did have the maintenance work done and it’s still standing. So there was a big mistake. Obviously this is not a federal law, it’s a state issue. And I know that they are going to continue to work to fix that because it was a terrible tragedy. We’re still interacting with many of the families today who have a number of issues related to benefits or something from the government. But we are on the one-year anniversary. It’s still a heartbreaking reminder of what happened.”
On Gun Legislation
“Well it will depend on the law they write, which hopefully they are starting to write this weekend, so we can see. But I will tell you, the concept they released has a lot of the ideas I have been proposing for four years. So for example, a red flag law that has real due process like the one we have here in Florida, and I think has been successful, I filed a bipartisan bill to do that four years ago, not last week. So if that’s the cornerstone of it, that’s something that makes a lot of sense. And that’s kind of the cornerstone of what they are working on. I just don’t know why we didn’t do it four years ago. We have other things. One initiative comes from Max Schachter, who’s one of the fathers from Parkland. And it’s a safety bill that created this clearinghouse that we helped them create, that exists today. And we want to codify it into law so that when school districts decide ‘we want to improve security,’ they know what works. The best practices are constantly updated. We want to codify that into law. Chuck Schumer blocked it because of some left-wing elements saying, ‘school safety and school hardening is bad for minority students.’ It’s silly. I hope that will be included in that. He was there to testify two days ago. So I am in support of anything that could have prevented these shootings that we’re seeing and identifying dangerous people, because they all fit similar profiles: young man, starts getting angry at the world, starts telling people he is going to kill people, and then does it. Identifying them and intervening before they act. That’s the way to solve it. And if these proposals to that, that’s something I can support and hopefully that’s where we wind up.”
On Hispanic Voters in Florida
“Well, I think people, in Florida obviously, general elections, no matter what you’re registered as, you can vote for the other party. We’ve benefited from that in the past. But I would always caution people, the Hispanic vote, yes they’re Hispanic, but they’re also working class and small business owners. They work for a living or they own a small business. And they care about what everybody else cares about: they want their kids going to school without being indoctrinated. They’re tired of paying $5 for gas. And that’s what we’re forgetting. What’s expensive now is the basics, the necessities of life. We’re not complaining that flat screen TVs are too expensive. It’s gasoline, food, housing, and clothing. The very basic necessities of life are becoming unaffordable for people who work full time and own small businesses, who are doing well but yet the prices are growing faster than their wages or faster than their business. All Americans care about that. Hispanic Americans care about that a lot. And that’s what they’re going to vote on and that’s what we’ve always fought to address.”
On Concealed Carry
“Well that’s a state-level law, and ultimately in Florida we have a concealed weapons program in place. You can carry concealed weapons now if you go through a series of steps. Open carry, you can actually see someone armed. At the end of the day, I haven’t gotten into the guts of that debate here in the state. What I wish we had was reciprocity for people that have gone through these extreme steps like I have to have a concealed weapons permit. But here’s what I can tell you: the most effective way to prevent what happened in Uvalde is to have identified that person and stop him before he acted. None of these people wake up one morning and decide, ‘I’m going to go kill a bunch of people.’ It is a pattern of behavior, they are telling people. This guy was putting up pictures of a bag full of dead, dismembered cats. He was telling people, ‘I’m going to kill someone,’ and no one intervened and stopped him. We have to have the ability, through the EAGLES Act, another bill that I am involved in, to identify him through the threat assessment center, and then we have to have a mechanism to go out and grab him. To be able to go to police and say, ‘this guy is going to shoot people. We better stop him before he does it.’ We don’t have that in place right now. All these guys are passing background checks because there is no red flag on them.”