Rubio doesn’t want to talk about how to save kids from gun violence — but kids sure do.
It's been another heart-breaking week in America, after 17 students and their teachers were shot dead in Florida.
Five years ago, after 20 first-graders were murdered in Sandy Hook, Sen. Marco Rubio told America it wasn't time to talk about how to prevent it from happening again.
"I hope we can take a break from the politics of shooting for a few days to mourn," he tweeted on Dec. 15, 2012. "Plenty of time for policy debate later."
Since then, there have been 239 more school shootings in this country, and Rubio still doesn't want to talk about it. But the children who survived the most recent shooting in Rubio's state of Florida do — and they're demanding he join the conversation.
On Thursday, 17-year-old David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who interviewed his fellow students while the shooting was happening and has been a powerful voice demanding action since then, rejected Rubio's claim that there is no point in passing laws to try to prevent shootings.
"You can still pass the law, per se, but you're still going to have these horrible attacks," Rubio said from the Senate floor.
"I absolutely disagree," Hogg told CNN later that day. "What I say to both parties and state legislatures across America and Congress and at the executive level is that — I say we implement whatever programs we can. It doesn't matter. We are not taking steps to prevent the deaths of thousands of children every year. And as a result of that, more are going to continue to die unless we take action."
Since Sandy Hook, Republicans have failed to take any action to restrict access to guns, despite demand for it from the overwhelming majority of Americans. And from Republican voters. And from gun owners. And even from NRA members.
Now that Republicans have full control of the federal government, with a president so openly and shamelessly in the NRA's pocket, action seems more impossible than ever. But the cry for it has never been louder — and it's coming from kids who will soon be of voting age.
"Please don’t pray for me," wrote Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky after the shooting. "Your prayers do nothing. Show me you care in the polls."
Republicans like Rubio are creating a whole new generation of voters radicalized by trauma and determined to kick them out of power.
Rubio's next election isn't until 2022. But if he doesn't figure out the "time for policy debate" is right now, the students who survived this week's shooting will all be able to vote and make sure it's his last.