the national interest

Marco Rubio: Orlando Shootings Are My Excuse to Break Senate Promise

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) Holds News Conference To Urge Congress To Pass Zika Virus Funding
After heartfelt prayer, Marco Rubio will arrive at the decision that happens to dovetail with his career advancement. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As part of his run for president, Marco Rubio declared that, win or lose, he would leave his Senate seat when his term expires in January. Now that he has lost, that promise has come back to harm Rubio and his party. Rubio’s absence puts a crucial Senate seat in dire jeopardy for Republicans, and it leaves him without a suitable platform to continue his career and build a future presidential campaign. The trouble for Rubio was finding a way to get out of his promise to retire, especially since his friend Carlos Lopez-Cantera had taken him at his word and run to fill the putative vacancy. Now Rubio may have found his pretext in the form of a terrorist act, conveniently staged in his home state.

In an interview with Republican Hugh Hewitt, Rubio says the Orlando attack has given him new inspiration to hold on to his Senate seat. The full smarminess on display in this exchange has to be seen to be believed:

Hewitt: Does this horror change in any way your resolve not to seek reelection, Senator?

Rubio: You know, I haven’t even given it thought in that perspective other than to say that I’ve been deeply impacted by it, and I think when it visits your home state, and it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about, you know, your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country. We live in a very dramatic moment in our history. I think we’re at a tipping point here moving into the next election. Irrespective of who the next president is, I think we’re going to face some real foreign policy challenges, given some of the things both of the candidates have outlined. So you know, obviously I haven’t thought about it from a political perspective, but it most certainly has impacted my thinking in general about a lot of things.

Hewitt: Now that I ask, will you at least consider it again?

Rubio: Well, obviously I have a couple of things in play. It’s not part of our plan as a family. And certainly wasn’t part of, I have a friend of mine who is running for the U.S. Senate. So I want to be fair, Hugh. I haven’t thought about it in that context. I really don’t want to link the two things right now, because I don’t want politics to intrude in all of this…

Hewitt: I understand, but…

Rubio: But suffice it to say that…

Hewitt: …there are people who know this issue. You are one of them.

Rubio: Yeah.

Hewitt: And…

Rubio: Well, as I said, my family and I will be praying about all this, and we’ll see what I need to do next with my life in regards to how I can best serve.

Hewitt: Senator Rubio, I appreciate that. I hope it leads you to stay in the United States Senate.

So Rubio had been planning to retire, and even 15 years after the 9/11 attacks — and a series of subsequent acts of terrorism across the globe, including a strike in San Bernardino last year — the notion that the United States faced the threat of terrorism had never impacted his thinking. Now suddenly Rubio has become aware that there’s a war.

In this horrible time, we must all think of the sacrifices we can make on behalf of our party career country.

Rubio: Shootings Excuse to Break Senate Promise