On Wednesday night, as the Senate reconvened after the riot at the Capitol, Senator Marco Rubio gave an emotional speech in which he displayed sensitivity toward Trump supporters who had been upset over what they perceived as media bias over recent months but also condemned the rioters, noting that America’s enemies would delight in the scenes at the Capitol. Rubio then made the telling point of why America was different from countries like China and Iran.
“We have forgotten that America is not a government. America is not a president. America is not a Congress,” said the senator. “Let me tell you what America is. America is your family. America is your faith. America is your community. That’s America. That’s what our adversaries don’t understand, and that’s what we need to remember. That is how we’re going to rebuild this country and turn the page and have a future even brighter than our past.”
Rubio began: “Over the last weeks and days leading up to this vote here today, I’ve heard from a lot of people about this vote, and I guess I want to address it as much to them as anybody else. And these are people that I know, these are friends, these are neighbors, these are longtime supporters, generally people on my side of the political aisle and they’re upset, they’re upset. They look at the media, and the media, they censored stories that might have been negative towards Joe Biden or weren’t negative towards Joe Biden and the social media companies helped him out and they saw how some states tinkered with and even mutilated state election laws. And they have doubts that the election was legitimate, and it gives this country this extraordinary crisis of confidence, which is very dangerous because democracy is very fragile and it’s not held together by elections.”
“Democracy is held together by people’s confidence in the election and a willingness to abide by its results,” he continued. “And so the notion was we need to do something; we need to fight. Several of my colleagues have adopted the idea, and I respect it, that they’re going to object. Now listen, it’s important to understand something, even the people objecting in the Senate recognize that it’s not going to pass. It’s not going to change the outcome, but it’s going to send a message and it’s going to make a point. The problem is, I think it’s a terrible idea at this moment. Just hours ago a young lady died in this Capitol. That means somebody, somewhere in this country got a phone call that their daughter was dead. Their daughter was going to a political rally, she is dead — died in this Capitol somewhere not far from where we are standing.”
Rubio saluted police officers: “We have police officers, the men and women that we walk by every single day, that guard the doors and we say hello to, out there with riot gear getting spit on and attacked, today, not ten weeks ago, just a few hours ago. And, I think it’s important to think about all those things on a night like tonight on everything that’s happened.”
“You know, I wouldn’t even be here today — I doubt very much I’d even have been interested in politics — had it not been for my grandfather. He died when I was 14, but I grew up at his knee,” Rubio recalled. “He would sit on the porch, and he would smoke three cigars a day, and he loved history. He was born in 1899 in rural Cuba. It was still governed by the United States; it was a protectorate. Three years later, it gained its independence, and it became a republic. During my grandfather’s first sixty years of life, he saw his country have an armed insurrection after a contested election, multiple presidents go into exile, two military coups, and the rise of a Marxist dictator — a tyranny that stands to this day.”
“My entire life, I have lived with and next to people who came to America because their country was chaotic, their country was unsafe,” he said. “What I saw today — what we have seen — looks more like those countries than the extraordinary nation that I am privileged to call home. And I think about the mockery that it makes of our country. Lot of people [say], ‘Oh, China, China’ — let me just say something. In all modesty, no one here has worked harder on the issue of China. They hate me and my guts. I’m sanctioned — twice sanctioned, I don’t know what they’re sanctioning, double sanctioned — and I can’t travel there. I wasn’t planning to anyway.”
“China’s laughing,” Rubio surmised. “They’re loving this tonight. In Beijing, they’re high-fiving because they point to this and say, ‘This is proof that the future belongs to China; America’s in decline.’ Vladimir Putin? There’s nothing that Vladimir Putin could come up with better than what happened here. Makes us look like we’re in total chaos and collapse. Not to mention the Ayatollah, who’s probably bragging to his buddies — if he has buddies — ‘Look what’s happening to the Great Satan.’
Rubio then turned to America: “I think politics has made us crazy! Everybody in this country has lost their minds on politics. And we have forgotten that America is not a government. America is not a president. America is not a Congress. Let me tell you what America is: America is your family. America is your faith. America is your community. That’s America. That’s what our adversaries don’t understand, and that’s what we need to remember. That is how we’re going to rebuild this country and turn the page and have a future even brighter than our past. So that’s why I feel so strongly about this and why I hope those who disagree with me will understand.”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 7, 2021
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