A Cuban reporter thought he was going to shame Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) when he asked him a question about the financial support he’s received from the NRA. Unfortunately, the Cuban reporter bit off a little more than he could chew when Rubio responded to his question by reminding him about the freedom people have in the United States that allow them to not elect him if they disagree with his defense of our Second Amendment.
WFB-Rubio traveled to Peru to represent the U.S. at the Summit of the Americas—along with Vice President Mike Pence—following President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel his trip there. At a press conference, reporter Sergio Gomez brought up the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which thrust Rubio’s gun rights support into the spotlight.
“I wonder if the influence lobbyists hold on politicians was in the agenda, specifically the NRA from whom you’ve received more than $3 million. What do you say to your voters from Lima? Will you continue to accept money from that organization? What do you say to the Parkland victims?” he asked.
The Cuban-American Senator expressed gratitude for the question and Gomez’s ability to challenge a public official.
“I think this is important because I am willing to answer questions in an open forum where you can have discrepancies,” he said in Spanish. “There are people in my country that don’t agree with how the Second Amendment of the Constitution is interpreted. Those people who are in disagreement with my stance on this issue have the right to vote against me.”
Rubio invoked Cuba and Venezuela, two countries for which he has been a longtime advocate for democratic reforms. Cubans have languished for decades under the rule of the Castros, and Venezuela is mired in a horrific domestic crisis due to socialist policies and crackdowns by Nicolas Maduro. Both countries have abysmal human rights and press freedom records.
“My wish is that Cuba, Venezuela and every country who has differences can decide them in the polls,” Rubio said. “Not through violence, not through illegitimate political movements. That’s what I wish. At the end of the day I think that in a free society, those who have disagreements with a political stance can vote against that politician. In five years, I will have to run again.”
Gomez again asked if Rubio would keep accepting NRA money, and Rubio replied that he supported the Second Amendment and had the support of those who did also.
“It’s simple. In the United States, in comparison to Cuba, we have a free press,” Rubio said. “The press can question and criticize me all they want, and they do so daily. I’m glad we’re able to hold a debate, because in Cuba you can’t have a debate. The answer is that in the U.S. the people know my stance. We also have transparency on who donates and who doesn’t.”
“Yes, I support the Second Amendment and those people who support that Amendment support me,” he added. “Those who don’t support it can vote against me. I wish you could also do that in Cuba, because you can’t.”
Rubio has worked closely with the Trump administration on Latin America policy. According to the Washington Post, Rubio drafted the list of Venezuelan officials accused of human rights abuses, which became the basis for U.S. sanctions. He also advised Trump to roll back the Obama administration policy opening relations with Cuba.