Last night (2/22/17), there was a town hall meeting organized by Indivisible members in Tampa, Florida where our Florida Senator Marco Rubio was MIA. He was represented at the meeting by a card board cut out. Those who attended the event were told by his office that the Senator was in Europe.
But oops! A demonstrator spotted the MIA senator on Thursday. His office is now stating that he returned from Europe last night (2/22).
The question I have, is was he really in Europe for the past few days or has he just been hiding out to avoid the Wednesday night crowds of upset constituents?
Here is the rest of the story…
The Miami New Times has published on 2/23/17 a video of Senator Marco Rubio in Miami. Jerry Iannelli posted the following:
“Update 3 p.m: Protesters managed to corner Marco Rubio at Florida International University today, too. They recorded their entire, intense encounter.”
“Marco Rubio spent the first half of the week in Europe on some sort of mystery tour through Germany and/or France. Details of that trip are remarkably scarce — but the U.S. senator from Florida used the journey as an excuse to skip out on a citizen-organized town-hall meeting in Tampa.”
On 2/23/17, The Tampa Bay Times has reported on what the senator has finally posted on his website:
From his website:
“On Monday in Germany, he received a country briefing at the U.S. embassy and met with American foreign service officers and intelligence officials stationed in Berlin. He also met with German officials, including Ursula von der Leyen, Defense Minister; Dr. Christoph Heusgen, National Security Advisor and Head of Foreign Relations, Global Affairs, and External Security; and Markus Erderer, State Secretary.”
“On Tuesday in France, he received a country briefing at the ambassador’s residence and met with American intelligence officials and foreign service officers stationed in Paris.”
“The purpose of the trip was to discuss with our European allies and American officials on the ground the future of the U.S./EU relationship, NATO operations, counter-ISIL activities, foreign assistance programs and Russian aggression, including meddling in foreign elections. Senator Rubio reiterated his commitment to the transatlantic alliance and efforts to strengthen U.S.-European relations.”
The statement says the trip was part of the Intelligence Committee and that Rubio traveled with other senators, who were not named.
On 2/23/17 Marc Caputo of Politico penned this report, “Rubio skedaddles from demonstrator over skipping town halls.”
“First, they found Rubio at a political science class he co-teaches at Florida International University, where Rubio couldn’t get away. In the second instance, at a hospital event that he kept secret from the public Thursday, the senator had a different reaction.”
“Senator, I thought you were in Europe?” the demonstrator asked Rubio in a video first posted by Miami New Times, which obtained the footage from a union member.”
“What?” Rubio replied without breaking stride, prompting the young man to refer to “Missing” posters that activists have begun circulating about Florida’s junior senator.”
“I saw all these missing child posters all over town,” the unidentified man asked. “Are you going to host a town hall? I’m glad you’re ok.”
Rubio: “Good to see you, man.”
“Are you going to host a town hall? We need to hear from you, Senator,” the demonstrator replied.
Rubio kept walking.”
“Rubio’s office has previously said that he wouldn’t attend the town halls because they’re stocked with liberal activists, who oppose President Trump’s immigration policies and Republican efforts to dismantled Obamacare. One group held a town hall in Tampa Wednesday night that featured a cardboard cutout of Rubio.”
“The demonstrator asked Rubio if he intended to go to a Miami town hall on Thursday, but Rubio refused to say as he hustled away.”
“In a Facebook post on Monday, Rubio and his office abruptly announced he was leaving the country to meet with “heads of state and senior government officials in Germany and France, two countries with upcoming elections who are facing concerns about Russian interference.”
“As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Appropriations Committee, and Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Rubio is conducting this official oversight trip to discuss the U.S./E.U. relationship, NATO operations, counter-ISIS activities, foreign assistance programs, and Russian aggression in Europe.”
“The notice wasn’t posted on his official Senate website. And his office didn’t disclose more details.”
“On Wednesday night, his office refused to say when Rubio would return to the United States. On Thursday, after Miami New Times posted its video, Rubio’s office acknowledged that he had arrived back home the previous night.”
“While Rubio has been averse to speak publicly about his plans to end Obamacare or to attend town halls, some of his Republican colleagues have been more open.”
“In Florida, U.S. Reps Dennis Ross and Gus Bilirakis faced hostile crowds, but U.S. Reps Ron DeSantis and Francis Rooney have skipped them.”
“At FIU, one of the demonstrators noted that all of the Miami-area members of Congress have ducked the public and refused to host town halls.”
“Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, no town hall. Carlos Curbelo, no town hall. Mario Diaz-Balart, no town hall,” one demonstrator said. Earlier, he noted that even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had time for a town hall.”
“Rubio, with Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera at his side, took the time to debate another man about Obamacare. Rubio said Obamacare doesn’t give people enough choices and, instead, he said he favored Health Savings Accounts.”
“I want us to have as many choices as possible,” Rubio said. “I want you to be able to control your healthcare spending and use it to purchase any kind of health insurance you want. And if you don’t have enough money to pay for it on your own, then you get a tax credit, the ability to fund an HSA.”
“Rubio has been stressing the need for more choice and fewer regulations in healthcare since and before he was Florida’s House Speaker, from 2007-2008.”
“None of Rubio’s reforms or rhetoric made much of a dent in Florida, however. Florida had one of the highest rates of uninsured individuals. Only after Obamacare mandated and subsidized more health insurance coverage did more Floridians get insured.”
“In talking with his critics, Rubio said he didn’t want to change Medicare for those currently on it. But he said the system needs to be reformed because it’s going “bankrupt.”
“But one demonstrator questioned whether Rubio knew what it was like to not have health insurance.”
“You get government healthcare. So you’re taken care of,” the young man said. “It’s us that are not taken care of.”