Sen. Marco Rubio mocked Defense Sec. Austin for masking up in the Philippines, where masks are required and COVID-19 is surging

Marco Rubio
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

  • Sen. Marco Rubio mocked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for wearing a mask and face shield in the Philippines.
  • The Philippines, which is undergoing a spike in COVID-19, requires masks and face shields in public.
  • Rubio’s home state of Florida is dealing with a surge of its own, with hospitalizations on the rise.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Marco Rubio mocked Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday for wearing a mask and face shield upon arriving in the Philippines.

“Our @SecDef is vaccinated,” Rubio wrote in a tweet alongside a video that showed Austin deplaning. “But he arrives in the Philippines wearing a mask AND a face shield.”

“Embarrassing COVID theatre,” he continued.

The Philippines requires anyone in public places to wear a mask and a face shield, according to the US Embassy in the Philippines. Some of the people Austin is greeted by in the video are wearing masks and face shields as well.

Read more: Vaccine mandates are coming, and it’s about time

The Philippines is also facing a surge in COVID-19, prompting authorities in Manila to impose tighter coronavirus restrictions this week. Reuters reported Tuesday that the Philippines recorded its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in more than six weeks. The country has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia, according to The New York Times.

Rubio’s home state of Florida is dealing with its own COVID-19 surge. The state leads the US in COVID-19 cases, and has the highest number of residents hospitalized with COVID-19 per capita, according to data compiled by the Times. It also has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita, after Louisiana.

Austin met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit. After the meeting, Duterte reversed a past decision to withdraw from a defense pact with the US, the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Associated Press reported. The VFA allows the large-scale combat exercises between the US and Philippines forces, which have occasionally sparked concern from China.

“Our countries face a range of challenges, from the climate crises to the pandemic and, as we do, a strong, resilient US-Philippine alliance will remain vital to the security, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific,” Austin said. “A fully restored VFA will help us achieve that goal together.”

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Chinese companies listed in the US must disclose the potential for government interference or risk violating the law, top SEC official says

Allison Herren
Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Allison Herren Lee testifies during the House Financial Services Committee hearing on oversight of the SEC in Rayburn Building on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

  • US-listed Chinese companies must disclose potential risks of Chinese government intervention, SEC Commissioner Allison Lee told Reuters on Monday.
  • Lee’s comments come as scrutiny of Chinese IPOs build in the US.
  • Prominent Chinese IPOs such as Didi, RLX Technologies, and Full Truck Alliance have plummeted.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US-listed Chinese companies must disclose potential risks of Chinese government intervention or could be violating the law, SEC Commissioner Allison Lee said on Monday.

“Public companies must disclose significant risks which, for China-based issuers, may sometimes involve risks related to the regulatory environment and potential actions by the Chinese government,” Lee said in an interview with Reuters.

Lee’s comments come as scrutiny of Chinese IPOs build in the US. The abrupt collapse of shares in ride-hailer Didi Chuxing has attracted attention from politicians and regulators on the accusation that the company did not properly disclose potential risks of an imminent cybersecurity investigation.

Sen. Marco Rubio, for instance, has said it was “reckless and irresponsible” to let an “unaccountable Chinese company” like Didi float shares on US markets.

“Even if the stock rebounds, American investors still have no insight into the company’s financial strength because the Chinese Communist party blocks US regulators from reviewing the books,” he told the Financial Times earlier in July.

Didi, which had previously sought a valuation of $70 billion, has seen its prospects dimmed by China’s cyber probe. It is now worth less than $40 billion, though on Monday the stock seemed to have found a floor around $8.

“We should always be focused on ensuring investors are fully informed of material risks, such as the risks we’ve seen recently related to China,” said Lee.

Other US-listed Chinese stocks have similarly been battered by China’s growing regulatory crackdown. Prominent Chinese IPOs such as RLX Technologies and Full Truck Alliance have seen initial exuberance give way to rapid share-price declines.

It is still unclear whether the SEC, Congress, or some other regulatory body has or will open a formal investigation into disclosure issues surrounding Chinese listings in America.

Didi was trading at $7.99 as of 3:37 p.m. ET, down about 1% on the day.

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Colombia, Cuba, and the defiant hypocrisy of Marco Rubio

People take part in a new protest against the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque, in Cali, Colombia, on May 19, 2021.
People take part in a new protest against the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque, in Cali, Colombia, on May 19, 2021.

  • In April, protests began in Colombia over the government’s handling of the economy and COVID-19.
  • The government responded by branding protesters terrorists and blaming foreign powers.
  • That argument is now being deployed by the authorities in Cuba. But the reaction is different.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In Cuba, recent weeks have seen thousands of people join the largest protests in decades to voice their displeasure at the government’s handling of the economy and the pandemic.

Months earlier, thousands of people did the same in Colombia.

One is governed by an elected, center-right government that is a staunch ally of the United States; the other is a one-party state subject to an array of sanctions from Washington. While the grievances might be similar, to some it is the relationship with America that makes all the difference.

Take Sen. Marco Rubio. When it comes to Cuba, the Florida Republican has been eager to show that he is the “human rights champion” that USA Today dubbed him in 2017. On Twitter, he has shared video after video of protesters and changed his avatar to a raised fist reminiscent of the one used by Black Lives Matter activists.

“The Cuban regime has already killed protestors,” he wrote. “And they will not hesitate to murder thousands if it means staying in power.”

Rubio has also appeared on Fox News to mischaracterize the Biden administration’s response to the protests in Cuba. “I don’t know why it’s so hard for them to criticize Marxists,” he told Sean Hannity. (Earlier in the day, he had sent a letter thanking President Joe Biden “for recognizing these heroic protests as a ‘clarion call of freedom.'”)

Havana’s response, meanwhile, has been to blame the foreigners for somehow persuading thousands of Cubans to take to the streets, all while reducing the masses of protesters to examples of the most violent among them.

In that, Cuban authorities are no different from their counterparts in Colombia. Or, for that matter, Marco Rubio.

“Behind much of the violence occurring in #Colombia this week is an orchestrated effort to destabilize a democratically elected government by left wing narco guerrilla movements & their international marxist allies,” Rubio tweeted in May. In doing so, he reduced tens of thousands of protesters to pawns of terrorists and foreign provocateurs – for which there is no evidence – all the while sounding no different than any embattled regime apparatchik.

Rubio followed up by introducing a Senate resolution to express “solidarity,” not with protesters being attacked by security forces and pro-government vigilantes but with their government, which he said “must use all tools available” to “restore stability.” That which he omitted sent as clear a message as what he said.

By that point, at least four dozen people had already been killed by security forces, with hundreds more detained. Dozens have simply gone missing. This, over protests that began over a tax hike, no less, before broadening to express a general dissatisfaction with the political class and its handling of the economy.

The right is not alone in hypocrisy, to be sure. A contingent on the left has gone beyond condemning the US embargo to expressing solidarity with the government in Havana. After condemning state violence in Colombia, some members of the Democratic Socialists of America, breaking with the democratic socialists who have won elections, amplified regime propaganda that protesters are “traitors.” (Among those detained in Cuba are communists and socialists.)

Adam Isacson, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, told Insider there’s an “obvious double standard” when it comes to how some respond to state violence. In Cuba and Colombia, authorities “have both zoomed in on the tiny minority of ‘vandals’ on the margins” to “justify crackdowns.”

The playbook, whether capitalist or communist, tends to be the same in the face of popular unrest.

“When the Cuban government does that, we should all condemn it,” Isacson said. “But the condemnation comes across as weaker and less credible if the person doing the condemning was echoing the Colombian government’s stigmatizations and justifications just a few weeks ago.”

Rubio, for his part, insists there is no comparing the respective crackdowns, telling Insider it is a “pathetic and ridiculous comparison.”

“The democratically elected leaders of Colombia did not go on national television and encourage violence,” he said, or “call people to violence. They did not order the systematic arrest, torture or murder of protestors, and they did not shut off access to the internet.”

It is of course true that no two countries are exactly alike. But the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which Rubio cited this past week when discussing Cuban human-rights abuses, did find that Colombian security forces engaged in numerous abuses themselves, a report detailing allegations of sexual violence, forced disappearances, and attacks on journalists and medical workers.

“The commission confirmed that, repeatedly and in various regions of the country, the response of the state was characterized by excessive and disproportionate use of force,” IACHR President Antonia Urrejola said. It also criticized Colombian President Iv├ín Duque’s government for criminalizing a form of protest – blocking traffic – that is popular not just in his country, but also in Florida among those who oppose the Cuban regime.

In the face of American hypocrisy, left or right, it is tempting to suggest the embrace of silence instead – for everyone to, please, just shut up. But keeping quiet is just another way of staying complicit. To stand up for justice, it is necessary to insist on it everywhere.

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A staffer had to tell Bill Clinton about the infamous Trump-Rubio fight in 2016 over penis size

trump rubio
Donald Trump and Marco Rubio debated below the belt during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries.

  • Former President Bill Clinton missed the debate when then-candidate Trump bragged about his manhood.
  • A staffer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign had to tell him about it.
  • It was “one of the more awkward moments in my life,” Josh Schwerin told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The moment when then-candidate Donald Trump boasted about his manhood during a 2016 Republican primary debate was particularly memorable for a staffer who had to brief former President Bill Clinton on what happened.

The former president had been in a meeting in Louisiana and missed the debate when Trump, responding to an attack from his opponent Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, assured a crowd that neither his hands nor “something else” were small.

Josh Schwerin, who served as the national spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said briefing the former president on the debate was “one of the more awkward moments in my life.”

“He didn’t at first believe me that this was the topic of a debate,” said Schwerin, who spoke to Insider as part of an oral history project on Trump’s takeover of the GOP. “I had to show him the CNN headline. I tried to not add any commentary and just let him read it for himself. Because it was not the most comfortable conversation to have with the former president of the United States.”

Read more: The definitive oral history of how Trump took over the GOP, as told to us by Cruz, Rubio, and 20 more insiders

Tired of Trump calling him “little Marco,” Rubio seized on the size of Trump’s hands that year during a rally in Roanoke, Va. “You know what they say about men with small hands? You can’t trust them,” he said.

Trump brought up the comment days later at the debate. “Look at those hands, are they small hands?” he said, holding up his hands for the crowd. “And, he referred to my hands – ‘if they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”

Rubio later said he apologized to Trump for his comments.

Bill Clinton’s extramarital sex scandals generated embarrassing headlines during his presidency and led to his impeachment. But the Rubio-Trump schoolyard antics still surprised him.

“He was amused, but also really aghast that this is what they had devolved to,” Schwerin said of Bill Clinton.

To read the full oral history story, click here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The government is sending up to $300 monthly checks to families with kids starting today. Democrats want to make it permanent as a new form of Social Security.

Joe Biden Chuck Schumer
President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

  • The US government is poised to send the first batch of child tax credit payments on Thursday.
  • Policymakers estimate 35.2 million families could see cash deposited into their bank accounts.
  • The success of the program will determine whether Democrats can extend it as another form of Social Security.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

America’s neglected social safety net could be getting its largest patch in a generation on Thursday, when the US begins a year-long experiment providing a guaranteed income for families with children. Its success will determine whether it becomes a permanent fixture.

The Internal Revenue Service is poised to send the first batch of monthly child tax credit payments stemming from President Joe Biden’s stimulus law, which was approved in March over united Republican opposition. For six months, families can get a $300 monthly benefit per child age 5 and under, amounting to $3,600 this year. The measure provides $250 each month per kid age 6 and 17, totaling $3,000. Half of the benefit will come as a tax refund.

If all goes to plan, the federal government will deposit cash directly into the bank accounts of 36.2 million families, according to projections from administration officials shared with reporters on Wednesday evening. That represents the bulk of the 39 million families the IRS has identified as being eligible for the child allowance.

Experts say the one-year child tax credit payments could shift public attitudes on cash benefits given its wide reach and mark a big step forward in slashing child poverty – some estimate it could be cut by up to half.

“It’s hard to understate the significance of this expansion for child poverty in America,” Samuel Hammond, a welfare policy expert at the center-right Niskanen Center, told Insider. “Most countries have some form of child or family allowance – and the US has been an outlier in excluding the lowest income households from our version of a child benefit,” he said, adding “once you start on this path, it’s hard to turn back.”

Some Democrats are already drawing comparisons between the program and the birth of Social Security in 1935, a milestone that set up a critical source of income for retired and disabled Americans.

“It’s the most transformative policy coming out of Washington since the days of FDR,” Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey recently told The New York Times.

‘Some bumps in the road’

Michael Bennet Capitol Hill
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), arrives for a vote in the Capitol.

Democratic lawmakers and Congressional aides have labored behind the scenes to ensure a smooth rollout of the payments. The child tax credit was revamped to include low-income families not required to file taxes, a group previously shut out from tapping into the benefit.

There were some signs of problems early on. Some experts and community groups raised concern that an IRS portal to sign up the poorest families was too complex and inaccessible for people who lacked desktop computers.

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, an architect of the measure, said on Monday the IRS has given the child tax credit “100% of their attention” and said he’s regularly communicated with the agency.

Still, he cautioned there could still be some snags. The pandemic has added to the IRS’s responsibilities over the past year and strained its depleted staff. It has gone from being a tax-collecting agency to a benefit distributor on par with the Social Security Administration.

“I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road as there always are when rolling out something new like this,” he told reporters. “But it’s important as bumps arise to iron them out.”

Some of those potential problems, Bennet told Insider, include “people not getting the benefit they were supposed to receive and accounting issues that might arise. I hope they won’t be systemic issues, I don’t think they will be.”

The IRS has struggled sorting through a massive backlog of tax returns in recent months, delaying tax refunds in at least some cases. Hammond said it was unclear whether distributing monthly child benefits via the IRS is “sustainable in the long run.”

“We’ve increasingly asked the IRS to do an awful lot of social policy beyond taxing and collecting revenues, and the IRS is just not equipped to be a benefits administrator,” he said.

The future of Biden’s child allowance

joe biden
President Joe Biden makes brief remarks at the White House.

The bulked-up child tax credit is a rare measure that enjoys deep support among both House and Senate Democrats. Bennet, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Suzan DelBene of Washington, are among the lawmakers spearheading efforts to make it permanent.

Biden proposed in his spending plans to extend the bulked-up benefit until 2025, the same year that Trump-era tax cuts for individuals end. It’s possible Republicans could trade support to renew the pair of benefits, given the GOP is generally opposed to cash aid as a standalone measure.

“I think we should embrace allowing people to keep more of their own money, if we’re applying it towards their payroll tax,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told Insider last month. Rubio and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah led efforts to double the size of the child tax credit in the 2017 Republican tax law. The pair favor boosting the benefit amount for workers.

On Wednesday, Rubio released a statement tearing into the child allowance. “The way President Biden tells it, the handout is part of his administration’s ‘pro-family’ plan,” he said. In reality, he has transformed the pro-worker, pro-family Child Tax Credit into an anti-work welfare check.”

Senate Democrats are kicking off a flurry of negotiations to finalize what measures will ultimately be included in a $3.5 trillion budget deal that would mostly be paid for with tax increases. They’ll advance it in a pathway known as reconciliation, which allows them to approve certain bills with a simple majority instead of a filibuster-proof 60 votes. Every Democrat must stick together for the budget package to clear the Senate.

Brown, the Banking Committee chairman, said talks were in their early stages so no child allowance expiration date was set. “Not clear what year yet, but it’s going to be a popular program like Social Security,” he told Insider on Wednesday. “Republicans will not only be afraid to take it away, they’ll start taking credit for it.”

He also suggested its hefty price tag could keep a permanent extension out: “I think its so costly it may not [be included], but I’m still fighting for permanence,” he said.

Brown also rejected the notion of changing the income thresholds. “I think that’s pretty locked in. We’ve all been talking about how important that is, 90% of the public getting this is really consequential and key to its popularity,” he told Insider.

Some Democratic moderates may balk at renewing the child tax credit in its current state. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a swing vote, told Insider he was open to a permanent extension last month. Others are undecided on the program’s fate.

“I consider it not an easy issue,” Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said in an interview. “It is a major expansion of what amounts to an entitlement program. I certainly supported it as part of the pandemic relief package. But supporting it on a permanent basis is something that I have to have more data on and understand how it’ll be paid for.”

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GOP Sen. Marco Rubio slams Didi’s US listing as ‘reckless and irresponsible’ – and calls it an unaccountable Chinese company

marco rubio ufo report
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

  • Sen. Marco Rubio blasted the “reckless and irresponsible” decision to grant Didi’s US listing in an FT interview.
  • He called Didi “unaccountable” as China’s government blocks US regulators from reviewing its accounts.
  • “That puts the investments of American retirees at risk and funnels desperately needed US dollars into Beijing,” Rubio said.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Sen. Marco Rubio slammed the “reckless and irresponsible” decision to allow Chinese ride-hailing app maker Didi to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, speaking in a statement reported by the Financial Times Wednesday.

Rubio, one of the US government’s most vocal China critics, described Didi as an “unaccountable Chinese company,” and said Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the tech provider, which sent the stock lower, highlights the risks for US investors.

Didi’s share price plunged more than 19% on Tuesday, after Chinese authorities at the weekend ordered app stores to remove its app from their platforms. The country’s internet regulator earlier launched a review of its data security, and ordered it to stop registering new users.

“Even if the stock rebounds, American investors still have no insight into the company’s financial strength because the Chinese Communist party blocks US regulators from reviewing the books,” Rubio told the FT. “That puts the investments of American retirees at risk and funnels desperately needed US dollars into Beijing.”

The type of business structure used by Didi “deprives foreign investors of vital legal protections they would otherwise enjoy through equity ownership,” the Council of Institutional Investors said in a 2017 paper.

The Republican senator’s comments suggest that Didi’s IPO saga could fuel new efforts by US lawmakers to place tougher hurdles in the way of Chinese companies seeking listings in the US.

Last year, former President Donald Trump signed legislation that banned Chinese companies from being listed on US markets unless they conformed to American accounting standards.

The “Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act” applies to companies from any country, but the sponsors of the law are seen as targeting it at Chinese companies listed in the US, such as Jack Ma’s Alibaba, tech firm Pinduoduo, and oil giant PetroChina.

Didi’s stock was last trading 4% lower in the pre-market session on Wednesday around 6.30 a.m. ET at $11.97 per share.

Read More: Goldman Sachs names 30 stocks to buy for double-digit revenue growth in 2022 – and 4 sectors expected to beat the S&P 500’s sales growth

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Val Demings, who rose to national prominence as a Trump impeachment manager, will challenge Marco Rubio in the 2022 Florida Senate race

Rep. Val Demings
Rep. Val Demings of Florida in February 2019.

  • Rep. Val Demings will take on Marco Rubio in the Florida Senate race next year, Politico reported.
  • Demings is a high-profile, top-tier candidate for Democrats in a politically-tricky state.
  • As a former police chief, she could offer a compelling perspective on issues of policing reform.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida, a former Orlando police chief who rose to national prominence as an impeachment manager in former President Donald Trump’s first Senate trial, on Wednesday officially launched her campaign to defeat GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“I’m running for US Senate because I will never tire of standing up for what is right,” she said on Twitter. “Never tire of serving Florida. Never tire of doing good.”

The entry of Demings into the race provides Democrats with a top-tier candidate in the nation’s premier swing state, albeit one that has had a slight Republican tinge over the past few election cycles.

For months, Demings, who was on President Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice presidential running mates last year, mulled over running for Senate or jumping into the 2022 governor’s race against GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

However, Demings felt that she could be most effective by taking on Rubio, according to a Politico report from May.

Demings hinted at a Senate run during an April appearance on “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.”

“I have received calls and texts and messages from people all over the state asking me to run because they feel that they are not represented and their voices are not heard,” she said. “I want to go to the position where I can do the most good. My home state of Florida deserves that.”

A national Democrat with knowledge of the party’s strategy to compete for the Senate seat praised Demings’ candidacy last month, telling Politico: “Val is an impressive and formidable candidate whose potential entrance would make the race against Rubio highly competitive.”

In what will likely be a core campaign message to working-class voters, a Demings advisor compared the congresswoman’s biography to that of Rubio.

“She’s the daughter of a maid and a janitor who became the first Black woman police chief in Orlando,” the advisor told Politico. “He’s the son of a maid and a bartender who’s a career politician.”

The advisor also said that Demings was dismayed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and his current “obstruction” under Biden.

“If I had to point to one thing, I think it’s the Covid bill and the way Republicans voted against it for no good reason,” the advisor told Politico. “That really helped push her over the edge.”

Read more: Being a Black Republican is exhausting. But Sen. Tim Scott and other big-name conservatives say they don’t need anyone’s pity or platitudes.

Democrats had been angling to find a candidate to take on Rubio, a two-term senator who was first elected in 2010 and ran for president in 2016. The party is anxious to defeat the ambitious senator, but after his easier-than-expected re-election in 2016, along with Democratic statewide losses in 2018 and Trump’s win over Biden in the state last year, Republicans have been politically ascendant in Florida.

However, with Demings as a candidate, she can compellingly speak on issues of policing and criminal justice reform, and could also blunt GOP attacks regarding the “defund the police” movement, which some in the party blame for electoral losses last year.

Demings was first elected to the House in 2016, where she represents the 10th Congressional district, anchored in Orlando. She sits on the powerful Judiciary, Intelligence, and Homeland Security committees.

Demings was a law enforcement officer with the Orlando Police Department for 27 years, serving as its chief of police from 2007 to 2011. Her husband, Jerry Demings, also served as chief of Orlando’s police, and is currently the Mayor of Orange County, one of the fastest-growing localities in Central Florida.

After Trump was impeached by the House in 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over the Ukraine scandal, Demings was a highly-visible impeachment manager in his Senate trial, where she argued for his conviction.

The Senate voted to acquit Trump, but Demings told NPR that the decision to make a case against Trump was “worth it.”

“The House managers were the defenders of the Constitution,” she said. “And just like when I was a law enforcement officer, when I saw someone breaking the law, I did not stop and think about, well, my goodness, what will the judge do? What will the jury do down the road? I did my job to stop that threat and then go to court and plead my case.”

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Marco Rubio slams the proposed January 6 commission as ‘a partisan joke’ that’s ‘about damaging Republicans’

Marco Rubio
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

  • Sen. Marco Rubio voiced his opposition to legislation that would create a bipartisan January 6 commission.
  • Rubio said that existing investigations are already uncovering much of what happened that day.
  • GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy have also come out against the proposal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on Friday announced his opposition to an independent commission that would investigate the January 6 Capitol riot, calling it “a partisan joke.”

Legislation for a bipartisan commission, which would probe the deadly insurrection, is currently “designed” to hurt Republicans, Rubio said.

“There’s no cover-up here,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “We already know what happened on January 6. It was a horrifying day. It’s something that should never happen again.”

He added: “We’re going to learn even more about what happened that day. Why? The Justice Department, as they should, is trying to prosecute and put in jail hundreds of people responsible for what happened that day.”

Rubio then said that congressional hearings have already revealed a lot about what happened on January 6, in addition to what he said was continuous media attention on the riot.

“There’s plenty of attention being paid to this,” he said. “Not to mention that the media doesn’t stop talking about it. They’re also looking at it.”

As the two-term senator then explained, the language for a commission mandates that Democrats and Republicans on the evenly divided panel have to agree in order to issue a subpoena.

Read more: Assassination threats, AOC potshots, and wolf teats: 2 wild weeks inside Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Georgia district as it flips a giant middle finger at DC

He contended that Democrats could use such a stipulation to put “a story out there saying” that a Democrat wants to subpoena an individual “but they can’t because Republicans are blocking it.”

“This is about damaging Republicans,” he said. “It’s about keeping the House majority in 2022 and winning elections and keeping this in the headlines.”

He added: “This is a partisan joke.”

The House passed the bill to establish the commission in a 252-175 vote, with thirty-five Republicans joining all 217 Democrats in supporting the bill.

Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump released a statement telling GOP lawmakers to oppose the legislation, specifically calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

“Republicans in the House and Senate should not approve the Democrat trap of the January 6 Commission,” he wrote. “Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left. Hopefully, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are listening!”

McCarthy has expressed his opposition to the legislation, and McConnell came out against the bill this week, calling it a “slanted and unbalanced proposal.”

With McConnell’s disapproval of the bill on record, it now faces a difficult road in the Senate, where Democrats must secure 10 GOP votes to overcome a legislative filibuster.

Republicans like Rubio and Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota are now largely rallying around the idea of a commission being used as a political football.

Thune recently told CNN that a January 6 commission could undermine Republican messaging as the party heads into the midterm elections.

“I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders – not relitigating the 2020 elections,” he said. “A lot of our members, and I think this is true of a lot of House Republicans, want to be moving forward and not looking backward.”

Rubio is up for reelection in 2022 and could potentially face Democratic Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief and former Trump impeachment manager who is set to enter the race in the coming weeks.

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Val Demings, who rose to national prominence as a Trump impeachment manager, plans to challenge Marco Rubio in the 2022 Florida Senate race

Rep. Val Demings
Rep. Val Demings of Florida in February 2019.

Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida, a former Orlando police chief who rose to national prominence as an impeachment manager in former President Donald Trump’s first Senate trial, plans to challenge GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022, according to Politico.

The entry of Demings into the race would provide Democrats with a top-tier candidate in the nation’s premier swing state, albeit one that has had a slight Republican tinge over the past few election cycles.

Demings, who was on President Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice presidential running mates last year, mulled over running for Senate or jumping into the 2022 governor’s race against GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

However, Demings felt that she could be most effective by taking on Rubio, according to several Democrats who spoke with Politico.

Demings hinted at a Senate run during an April appearance on “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.”

“I have received calls and texts and messages from people all over the state asking me to run because they feel that they are not represented and their voices are not heard,” she said. “I want to go to the position where I can do the most good. My home state of Florida deserves that.”

Demings is expected to finalize her decision in the coming weeks, according to Politico.

Read more: Being a Black Republican is exhausting. But Sen. Tim Scott and other big-name conservatives say they don’t need anyone’s pity or platitudes.

A national Democrat with knowledge of the party’s strategy to compete for the Senate seat praised Demings’ candidacy, telling Politico: “Val is an impressive and formidable candidate whose potential entrance would make the race against Rubio highly competitive.”

In what could be a preview of a campaign message to working-class voters, a Demings advisor compared the congresswoman’s biography to that of Rubio.

“She’s the daughter of a maid and a janitor who became the first Black woman police chief in Orlando,” the advisor told Politico. “He’s the son of a maid and a bartender who’s a career politician.”

The advisor also said that Demings was dismayed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and his current “obstruction” under Biden.

“If I had to point to one thing, I think it’s the Covid bill and the way Republicans voted against it for no good reason,” the advisor told Politico. “That really helped push her over the edge.”

Democrats have been angling to find a candidate to take on Rubio, a two-term senator who was first elected in 2010 and ran for president in 2016. The party is anxious to defeat the ambitious senator, but after his easier-than-expected re-election in 2016, along with Democratic statewide losses in 2018 and Trump’s win over Biden in the state last year, Republicans have been politically ascendant in Florida.

However, with Demings as a candidate, she can compellingly speak on issues of policing and criminal justice reform, and could also blunt GOP attacks regarding the “defund the police” movement, which some in the party blame for electoral losses last year.

Demings was first elected to the House in 2016, where she represents the 10th Congressional district, anchored in Orlando. She sits on the powerful Judiciary, Intelligence, and Homeland Security committees.

Demings was a law enforcement officer with the Orlando Police Department for 27 years, serving as its chief of police from 2007 to 2011. Her husband, Jerry Demings, also served as chief of Orlando’s police, and is currently the Mayor of Orange County, one of the fastest-growing localities in Central Florida.

After Trump was impeached by the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over the Ukraine scandal, Demings was a highly-visible impeachment manager in his Senate trial, where she argued for his conviction.

The Senate voted to acquit Trump, but Demings told NPR that the decision to make a case against Trump was “worth it.”

“The House managers were the defenders of the Constitution,” she said. “And just like when I was a law enforcement officer, when I saw someone breaking the law, I did not stop and think about, well, my goodness, what will the judge do? What will the jury do down the road? I did my job to stop that threat and then go to court and plead my case.”

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Sen. Marco Rubio says some of his colleagues laugh at his UFO inquiries: ‘There’s a stigma on Capitol Hill’

marco rubio ufo report
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

  • Sen. Marco Rubio told “60 Minutes” that fellow lawmakers don’t always take UFOs seriously.
  • The Florida Republican is anticipating a report from the intelligence community on UFOs.
  • “Some of my colleagues are very interested … and some kind of giggle when you bring it up.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said many of his fellow lawmakers on Capitol Hill do not take the possibility of UFOs existing seriously.

Appearing in a “60 Minutes” segment on the Pentagon acknowledging that there are unidentified aircraft consistently encountered by US forces that no one can explain, Rubio shed some light on how the topic plays out in Congress.

“There’s a stigma on Capitol Hill. Some of my colleagues are very interested in this topic and some kind of giggle when you bring it up,” Rubio said.

As the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Rubio has been pushing for a forthcoming report from the intelligence community what the government knows about UFOs.

While potential involvement of extra terrestrial life makes some of his colleagues laugh, Rubio said he finds the mysterious flying objects to be a deadly serious issue.

Read more: How Marjorie Taylor Greene became the Voldemort of Congress. Few lawmakers even want to say her name.

“Anything that enters an airspace that’s not supposed to be there is a threat,” Rubio said.

The “60 Minutes” segment included infrared radar footage from American aircraft encountering speedy and shifty objects that moved at hypersonic speeds despite having no wings or signs of exhaust from a propulsion system.

Some of the footage showed the objects rotating while traveling at high speeds.

Rubio said the goal of his committee upon reviewing the forthcoming report will be to standardize how pilots and other military personnel can log and track any encounters with UFOs.

“That there be a place where this is cataloged and constantly analyzed, until we get some answers,” Rubio said. “Maybe it has a very simple answer. Maybe it doesn’t.”

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