Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is pretending Trump didn't do something that Trump very clearly did.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) came up with a novel way to defend Donald Trump's latest attempt to solicit election interference from a foreign country: Simply deny reality.
On Friday, Rubio responded to a question from a reporter about Trump's request that China investigate former Vice President Joe Biden by saying it was not a real request, and brushing it off as Trump "needling the press."
"I don't know if that's a real request or him just needling the press knowing you guys were going to get outraged by it," Rubio said in a video from CBS News 4 out of Miami. When asked a follow-up question, Rubio stuck to the same answer.
"I don't think it's a real request. Again, I think he did it to get you guys. I think he did it to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it," Rubio said, adding that he thought Trump played the media "like a violin."
Rubio failed to explain how Trump was "needling the press" by making the request in a private June 18 phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Rubio appears either ignorant of that fact, or he's glossing it over when speaking to the media.
It is illegal to solicit election interference from foreign nationals and also illegal to accept such assistance.
In 2016, Trump asked Russia to find a trove of Hillary Clinton's emails. According to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Russian operatives began trying to hack her campaign within hours.
In a June interview, Trump admitted he would accept assistance from foreign countries if they offered him dirt on his political opponents. At the time, Rubio seemed to disagree, saying, "If a foreign agent or a cutout for a foreign agent approaches any American politician, they should report that to the FBI."
Rubio, however, has not said whether he's contacted the FBI after Trump made repeated requests that both Ukraine and China approach him with dirt on his political rivals or whether he's suggested Trump do so.
Instead, it appears Rubio is simply ignoring reality.
Published with permission of The American Independent.