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‘There’s No Risk Posed’: Marco Rubio Defends Himself After Backlash Over Zelensky Photo
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 25: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 25, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. CPAC, which began in 1974, is an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) defended himself Sunday after critics piled on him over a photo he tweeted during a Zoom call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Rubio joined CNN anchor Jake Tapper for Sunday morning’s broadcast of “State of the Union,” and Tapper asked about the photo — a screenshot Rubio took of Zelensky from the call — and the fact that lawmakers had been asked not to share anything from the call on social media for security reasons.


“You tweeted a photo of Zelensky during the virtual meeting. Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips said that the Ukrainian Ambassador had explicitly asked lawmakers to not share anything on social media until after the meeting ended just for Zelensky’s security. Is that true? Was it a mistake for you to tweet that picture?” Tapper asked.

“Well, first of all, she asked that like 30 minutes into the call — after I had already done it,” Rubio began. “The second is I think she is under the impression that no one knew that call was happening. That call had been widely reported, actually the specific time had been reported, there were over 300 people on it, all the call details had been emailed. There was nothing secure about the call.”

Rubio went on to argue that there were no identifying landmarks or details to Zelensky’s location given away in the photo, arguing that the media had harped on it for attention rather than because the photo had presented any real risk to Zelensky.

“The picture is just a nondescript picture, it looks like every — all the other ones you’ve seen out there publicly. There’s no risk posed, but you’re always gonna have a couple of people that want their name in an article somewhere or mentioned in the press, so …” Rubio trailed off.

The photo that brought the mob down on Rubio was tweeted early in the call on Saturday.

Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN) called out Rubio and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) for tweeting photos from the call, although he did not indicate whether their photos were tweeted prior to the Ukrainian Ambassador’s request.

“The Ukrainian Ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy. Appalling and reckless ignorance by two US Senators,” he said.

Writer and filmmaker Andy Ostroy tweeted, “Hey @marcorubio …you were asked NOT to post anything on social media for fear it could compromise @ZelenskyyUa‘s safety. WTF is WRONG with you? #MarcoRubio #Ukraine.”

You should consider this tweet by @marcorubio an assassination attempt on the life of Ukrainian President Zelensky,” Billy Baldwin added.

Keith Olbermann accused both Rubio and Daines of “treason” and demanded they be “expelled from the Senate immediately.”

Aiding an enemy nation that has attacked a US and NATO ally in a time of war is, by definition, treason. Senators @marcorubio and @SteveDaines should be expelled from the Senate immediately, and prosecuted for their treachery on behalf of Russia. His tweet below is irrefutable.”

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