In a rousing speech delivered on the Senate floor late Wednesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sought to remind Americans what our country is about following a melee of rioters who breached the U.S. Capitol over their objections to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory over outgoing President Donald Trump.
“We have forgotten that America is not a government,” said Rubio. “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.”
While the senator made sure to explain he understands the frustrations of so many conservatives who feel ignored and sidelined by a media increasingly hostile toward their principles and, in fact, seems to be actively working to support Democrats (Rubio noted the way social media outlets like Twitter suppressed the Hunter Biden story ahead of the November election), it’s critical to remember the context of the day.
Rubio pointed out that, just hours before he began speaking, a pro-Trump protester from San Diego — a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force — had been killed.
“Just hours ago, a young lady died in this Capitol,” said the lawmaker. “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.”
“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 10 weeks ago — just a few hours ago,” he continued. “And I think it’s important to think about all those things on a night like tonight.”
Rubio went on to talk about his own heritage.
He explained that, as a child, he would sit and listen to his grandfather who emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, where he was born in 1899. Rubio talked about how his grandfather watched as Cubans endured “an armed insurrection after a contested election.” The senator’s grandpa witnessed presidents sent into exile, two military coups as well as the rise of a Marxist dictator.
“My entire life,” Rubio said, “I have lived with and next to people who came to America because their country was chaotic, their country was unsafe. 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. think about the mockery that it makes of our country. Lots 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.”
He told his fellow politicians that China “is laughing” at the U.S. after what happened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
“In Beijing,” he said, “they’re high-fiving because they point to this and say, ‘This is proof that the future belongs to China. America is 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 probably bragging to his buddies, if he has buddies, ‘Look what’s happening to the Great Satan.'”
Our politics, Rubio concluded, “has made us crazy!”