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TRANSCRIPT: Marco Rubio Remarks at CPAC

February 25, 2022

ORLANDO, FLA. — Marco Rubio gave the following remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference this morning in Orlando. Video may be found here.


Thank you. This is, you guys may not know this, I just talked to the CDC this morning, and this is the largest maskless gathering since the Super Bowl apparently, since the Super Bowl. Yeah we’ve had an epic number of name changes going on in America lately, a bunch of people who got named the wrong thing a few years ago and now they’re trying to change their name. 

But anyway, I only have eleven minutes with you. You know, rather than writing something out, I just thought I’d talk to you about something that really has been weighing on me for a very long time, in all seriousness.

You know, being America is hard. And you know why being America is so hard? And it’s always been hard, it’s because America’s not normal. And let me tell you what I mean by that. Here’s what’s normal: almost every person that has lived on Earth has had no freedom. The hundreds of billions of people, whatever that have lived throughout the 5,500 years of recorded human history. Go back, if you look at it, almost everyone that’s ever walked the Earth, the overwhelming majority of people that have ever lived, lived in a place where they didn’t get to pick their leaders, they didn’t have any real rights, their rights were whatever their leaders allowed them to have. That’s how most people in history have ever lived. 

This phenomenon of what we call democracy, and our republic, and liberty, it’s a modern phenomenon. The American Revolution. What was revolutionary about it is it had this audacious idea that your rights come from God–not from a government, not from leaders. And so, being America is hard because being America is unusual compared to human history.

You know, one of the fascinating things is human beings live very differently in terms of the technology we use, how we dress, how we communicate. Nothing looks like it did a thousand years ago. Except for one thing: human nature. Human nature is unchanged. Human nature is unchanged. Human nature was the same 2,500 years ago as it is today. That’s why the Bible has so much wisdom in it. The same mistakes repeated, and it’s why history is so important to know. Real history. It’s what the founders of this nation understood, and they understood that human nature was, if you ever got power, there would always be people that would want to make everybody else live, think, say the things they wanted them to say, and do the things they wanted them to do. And they built protections against it because none of us are immune from it. 

Now I’ll tell you, I have lived my entire life in the United States of America. Freedom and liberty is all I have ever known. But I was raised by people and surrounded by people and to this day live surrounded by people that know what life is like in other countries. And so they know how special America is, and they know what real tyranny looks like and what real oppression looks like.  

And frankly, even though they have had an enormous impact on my life, even I, as I look back now, took for granted some of their warnings years ago about what happens to a society and to a people when we empower those who believe that their job is to tell the rest of us how to live and think and believe and how we are allowed to do. And I think in many ways if you want to define what is so unique about this moment in our history is that for the first time, perhaps in recent memory, and certainly in recent history, Americans have come face to face with what it looks like when people use power to impose their will on society. What’s most interesting about this is Marxism, which is what so many people have fled, and moved to Florida to get away from, from various countries, from Venezuela, from Cuba, from Nicaragua.

Marxism, everybody thinks Marxism is some sort of economic theory. Marxism is a lot more than an economic theory. Marxism is a viewpoint, it’s a philosophy. And at the core of that philosophy is that there are a handful of people that know what is good and what is right, and they’re smarter and better than everybody else. And what we need is a system that empowers them to enforce that upon everybody else. 

In essence, to do for you what you’re not smart enough, what you’re not good enough to do for yourself. And that’s been infused in every aspect of our lives. 

Very few people call themselves Marxists, that’s the criticism when I say that. “Oh, but they’re not self-described Marxists.” Marxists are never self-described Marxists. Go back and read the articles from 1956 and ‘57 and ‘58 when the New York Times sent a reporter to interview Fidel Castro. He didn’t say “I’m a Marxist.” You know what those articles said? This was a romantic figure with a big beard and he wears a rosary and he believes in God and he’s only going to be in power for a year and then he’s going to go off, and I don’t know, I think they said he’s going to have a farm. 

That’s what he said, they lie. Marxists lie. And the reason why they lie is because if they told you who they were, you would never let them get where they want to get. And so they lie. 

I believe there are a lot of people in this country influenced by Marxism that don’t even realize they’re being influenced by Marxism. And it’s infused every aspect of our lives and of our society. And so, for the first time, in my lifetime, and probably your lifetime, we have witnessed things that we have never seen in this country before. 

For the first time now, we started to see the building momentum behind, first of all, like there’s now a speech code. Right? Every single person in this room, and the overwhelming majority of people that you know, are one word away, it doesn’t matter if you’re thirteen years old when you said it, you’re one word, you’re one statement, you’re one retweet, you’re one like away from destroying your life. There are kids in America, there are kids in America that have had their admissions to a college revoked because of something they did or said or liked on social media when they were fourteen. When they were fourteen. 

But it goes beyond that. There are now certain things that you’re not allowed to say on a college campus. They won’t give you a permit to speak about it, they certainly wouldn’t hire you to do it. And so, that’s the first time people have really come face to face with that reality. It’s the first time when we’ve seen basically digital mobs descend on people and say, “Let’s destroy this person’s reputation. Let’s take away their livelihood. Let’s close down their business. Let’s take away their voice because we don’t like the approach of something they said, even if it’s totally out of context.”

By the way, I don’t understand this thing about podcasts, canceling podcasts. Of all the things you’re going to cancel, to listen to a podcast takes effort. Like, you’ve got to find the thing, you’ve got to download it. It’s not like some radio station that you turn the channel, somebody says something offensive and you melt down. I’m not in favor of censoring that either, but for a podcast, it takes some work to find it. But that’s beside the point. 

But it went further than that. Many of you perhaps come from states or lived in places where rules are really important. Rules are very important, depending on what the rule is. For example, if you have to go to a place, you go to this restaurant, they say “you got to wear a mask.” But really what they are saying is you have to wear a mask from the time you walk in five feet until the time you sit down. Then you can take off your mask. And guys, let me tell you, March of 2020 when nobody knew what this thing was, and I thought, is it in the air? We were all, our hands were chapped from the disinfectant. Alright, I get it, let’s figure this thing out . I don’t know what this is. 

But now, for the first time in American history, you now have people having to produce papers to go in somewhere, to sit somewhere, to go to the State of the Union. You’ve got to show them “I’m vaccinated. I took a test yesterday. They took my temperature.” All this stuff. My point to you is, I don’t want to get into all that because you’re all well aware of it. 

This is, what’s happening now, in America is what happens after twenty years of infusing this Marxist thought process into every aspect of our lives. And now we’ve come face to face with it.  It’s the most valuable thing we have. 

Guys, you can always cut taxes. You can always roll back regulations. You can always elect better people. But when freedom is lost and it’s eroded, it is so hard to reclaim it and to get it back. 

And so that’s why the people I live among and the neighborhood I lived in my entire life, you see the fury and the desperation in their voice because imagine. Imagine that you once lived in a country that you had to flee because in school, they were telling your kids that God didn’t exist, turn your parents in if they say something against the revolution, and by the way, your parents may be arrested or even executed depending on what they did under the previous government. So you fled. And now imagine you’re living in a country and some of the same things seem to be happening again. Now your kids are being told things in schools things about history, about society and about our country that simply are untrue. You’d react very strongly to it. 

The people who have lived under those systems have a warning to us. And that is that that’s the way it started there too. And they never stop. It’s an insatiable appetite for power and it will never, ever end. There is nothing they won’t try to control. There is no aspect of your life that they won’t try to influence. 

And if this trend continues, and I tell you this now because it’s already happening all over the world, we will live to see the day where mainstream Judeo-Christian values, when excerpts out of the Bible, are considered hate speech.

Look, I have very limited time, we could go on forever talking about this, but I’ll close with this: No matter where you stand on this Ukraine Russia situation, what we should have done beforehand, what we should do now, the one thing I think everyone can agree upon is that the people of Ukraine are inspiring to the world. I don’t know if you have watched the images in the last 48 hours. You have seventy-something-year-old men, elderly women, younger children taking up arms, prepared to sacrifice everything. I don’t know if you heard the audio of those thirteen defenders of the Snake Island, where the Russian ship says, “Surrender, this is Russian, surrender,” and they respond in French about what the Russian ship should go do. 

No matter how you feel about everything, and here’s what it reminds you of: It reminds you how valuable freedom and liberty, these are people that are basically saying, “We refuse to be Putin’s slaves. We refuse to live under tyranny, and we’re prepared to give our life and die for it.” 

And what it reminds us of, it should remind us of two things: how precious freedom and liberty is. How quickly it can be lost. 

And the second thing it should remind us is that the reason why we’ve had freedom, and we’ve had liberty is because people at one point were willing to do that for our country here. They were willing to die, and they were willing to sacrifice for it. 

Freedom and liberty are being threatened again. But no one here is being asked to die. No one here is being asked to take up arms to defend it. We’re being asked to win elections, to speak out, to be courageous, to raise our voices, to call it out for what it is. And it’s happening. And I’ll close with this. 

It’s happening, because I’m telling you right now, that all across this state, and all across America, there are people that may not agree with us on what the tax rate should be. There are people that may not agree with us on how much regulation there should be in government. There are people that may not agree with us on a variety of issues. There are people that perhaps have never voted the same way any of you have in a presidential race. And they’re really angry. And they’re getting rid of school board members because they’re coming for their kids. And they’re getting rid of local government officials because they’re coming for their business. And they’ll get rid of federal leaders that are coming for their freedom.

These are people that are not ideological. Here’s what they believe in: common sense wisdom and values. The notion that parents should have the predominant role to play in their children’s lives. That people should be able to say and speak freely in this country. That this is the greatest nation on Earth, not an inherently evil one. They believe in these things, too. 

And that’s why I believe that for all the negative we’ve heard, the pendulum is swinging. The pendulum is swinging. And I believe we are on the precipice, on the verge, of a reinvigoration of the American spirit that will not just strengthen America–it will leave us freer and more prosperous than we have ever been. 

So let’s go out and make sure that happens. God bless all of you, and let’s keep CPAC in Florida. Thank you. God bless you.

Fighting for Florida