Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took aim at one of his possible Democratic senate challenger — Rep. Val Demings of Florida, spotlighting her Congressional voting record where he said she is an “honorary member” of “The Squad” based on House votes that show she had voted similar with the group “94% of the time.”
“How can you vote with ‘the Squad’ 94% of the time and argue that you’re not an honorary member of that group? How can you vote with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time and argue that you’re not a far-left, liberal extremist?” Rubio said to Fox News in an exclusive interview Monday, dismissing any description of the Florida Democrat as a moderate.
“So she’ll have to answer to that, or whoever their candidate is will have to answer to what their voting record is,” the senator emphasized as he seemingly pointed to congressional voting record data from the independent, nonprofit news organization ProPublica,” Rubio added.
Demings, who is Black and was the first female police chief with the Orlando Police Department after spending nearly three decades in law enforcement. Based on her police background, Democrats have argued that it would be hard for Republicans to pin the “socialist” label on the Congresswoman.
The Floridian first reported back at the end of April when rumors swirled of the former police chief mounting a bid against Rubio for Senate that Demings has voted with Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) 94% of the time. Demings’ progressive voting record ranks comes second to other Progressive “Squad” members, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
“At the end of the day, they can call themselves whatever they want. People see through it for what it is,” Rubio said.
The Florida Senator also noted that Demings has “voted against deporting criminal illegal aliens,” recalling the Congresswoman balking after being heavily scrutinized by progressives for breaking with Democrats back in 2017.
“We’re a country of immigrants. My parents are immigrants. I support immigration. But my argument is that immigration, and I think this is a commonsense position that most Americans hold – has to be through a system that is orderly,” Rubio said.
He added that “Hispanic voters have the same view on immigration as the majority of the country does. Where there might be a difference is they actually know the issue first hand… I think it’s an important issue to Hispanic voters because they’re personally familiar with it.”
Regarding the Floridian Hispanic vote that helped former President Donald Trump and down-ballot Republicans win in the state of Florida in the November 2020 elections, Rubio emphasized it as “a very strong reaction” against “a Democratic Party that has gone radically to the left.”
Rubio, who is up for re-election in 2022, said he is running his campaign based solely on his two-term “unprecedented record of achievement” in the Senate.
“People send you to Washington to get things done, and that’s what we’ve done. And I think we’ve gotten things done at a rate and at a level that frankly I’m not sure has precedent in modern Florida history from the point of view of a senator,” Rubio said. “These are meaningful things. These aren’t Post Office namings. These are foreign policy measures that got me sanctioned and banned by China, death threats from [Venezuelan leader Nicholas] Maduro to domestic policy on the VA, to domestic policy on PPP [Paycheck Protection Program].
The Florida senator, who was formally endorsed by Trump back in April, said he would “absolutely” welcome the former president and Florida resident’s help on the campaign trail in 2022.