the national interest

Obama’s First Mosque Visit Is One Mosque Visit Too Many for Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reacts to U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement about revising policies on U.S.-Cuba relations on December 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Rubio called the President a bad negotiator and criticized what he claimed was a deal with no democratic advances for Cuba.
Marco Rubio is angry that President Obama wants Muslim-Americans to feel American. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Today, President Obama visited a mosque for the first time during his presidency, where he delivered a message of tolerance and inclusion. “You’re not Muslim or American, you’re Muslim and American,” the president said, “And don’t grow cynical.” The visit offended Marco Rubio, who called it yet another example of Obama’s “constant pitting people against each other. I can’t stand that.

Rubio’s condemnation was so bizarrely at odds with the substance of Obama’s remarks that some observers found themselves at a loss to even follow his meaning:

Let me explain. One of the tenets of conservative social analysis holds that conservatives are tolerant and color-blind, and the troubles between groups arise from liberals appealing to minorities on the basis of their identity. Defending social tolerance in a mosque therefore equals making an appeal to Muslims as Muslims, which in turn equals pitting people against each other.

Obama and Rubio follow very different theories of the proper treatment of social minorities. One of those men is president of the United States, and the other has no business holding that position.

Rubio: One Obama Mosque Visit Is Too Many