VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT - Marco Rubio: "I Don't Think I'll Be Able to Support Hagel's Nomination"
On Thursday's Happening Now, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio responded to questions on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing after he was nominated as Secretary of Defense.
In an interview conducted by Jon Scott, Rubio said he doesn't think he'll "be able to support"
Hagel's nomination, adding that he's "deeply disturbed by his previous comments" on topics like Iran, Israel, and more. Read the full transcript, below, and watch the full interview:
TRANSCRIPT: Jon Scott: Joining us now, Senator Marco Rubio – Member of the Foreign Relations cmte as well as the intelligence cmte Have you heard anything one way or the other, Senator, that causes you to decide your vote on Chuck Hagel? Marco Rubio: Well, let me begin by saying that Chuck Hagel’s service for our country – particularly in Vietnam is something that all of us admire. I don’t think you’ll find debate about that. But he’s being nominated for one of the most important Cabinet positions in the country. The secretary of defense. And I stated long ago that I’m deeply disturbed by his previous comments and positions with regards to sanctions on Iran, with regards to direct negations with North Korea, obviously statements he’s made on Israel. These are not the kind of statements and kind of positions that I would like to see our sec of defense to have. These are big big problems. And so, for those reasons I just don’t think I’ll be able to support his nomination. Especially after his testimony in the last hour here has really not said anything that addresses those concerns to my satisfaction. Jon Scott: Israel attacked that convoy – Iranians as well as Syrians threatening war on Israel – if that should erupt – what should the US do? Marco Rubio: Well, obviously I don’t want to speculate about what may or may not happen militarily – obviously a very sensitive topic – but let me say this – I think the US has a clear obligation to stand with Israel – as our alley – to provide them material to support for their own defense. Israel is more than capable of defending themselves – they’d be the first to tell you that. But they do need our help and our assistance in different ways. And we need to stand prepared – and we need to make it very clear that just as Iran said that an attack on Syria is an attack on Iran. We should be very clear that an attack on Israel on our interests and on America..and I for one am prepared to say that. Jon Scott: Let’s switch gears now, to immigration reform. It’s been a front and center item this week. One member of a bipartisan group of 8 senators who unveiled their proposals for immigration reform this week – you are …the President then came out with his own policy…do you see the two meshing? Marco Rubio: Well, I see significant differences…obviously talking about the same topic and there are some things that are the same but there are some critical points that are different -for me and for many…of the group that outline these principles, in fact one of the key parts of these principles is a very clear requirement that before anybody gets a green card not only do they have to wait behind everybody that’s applied before them the right way but security measures particularly border security must happen. Because these promises have been made in the past about border security and they’ve never been kept and if we can’t find a way to guarantee that this bill is not going to work, the president didn’t mention that at all. Another thing the president didn’t mention was a guest worker program. Without a guest worker program for future immigration we’re going to be right back here again in 5 to 10 years with a couple million people more who are undocumented. The president didn’t mention that either and that’s clearly part of our principles. If those two things are not part of a final product, not only can I not support it, but I don’t think it stands a chance. Jon Scott: How many immigrants come into this country hoping to make it to the middle class. I know you’ve been talking about the middle class a lot lately and you have more work to do in that regard. How do you propose that that this nation build a thriving middle class? Marco Rubio: The only way we’re going to have a thriving middle class is free enterprise and limited government, that’s what makes us different from the rest of the world. Every country has rich people, what makes America different is we have a middle class which is the result of a country where people have the freedom to invest their hard earned dollars and when it works, it creates jobs and opportunities for others. That’s the direction for us to go. The direction the president is trying to take us is in the direction of the failed ideas that were tried everywhere. In fact, the failed ideas of countries that people come here to get away from. People immigrate here to get away from countries where the government dominates the economy and so that’s not the direction for us to go. We have a good argument to make to the people that are trying to make it, that big government crushes the middle class it doesn’t help the middle class Jon Scott: But as you know the president was elected on an agenda that seems to include more government intervention in the economy and more regulations. Marco Rubio: Well the president, let me tell you this, I bet the president wouldn’t give his inaugural speech before the election, I bet you he wouldn’t say some of the things he said at the inauguration before the voting took place. The bottom line is that for the last 4 and half years the president has tries to portray himself as a centrist who believes that government should be limited now he’s won his second and final re-election he no longer pretend to be that. He is an unabashed believer that more government is the right answer and I look forward to the debate because I don’t think that one he can win, he doesn’t have history on his side he doesn’t have economics on his side and we’re beginning to see proof. In the last 3 months of last year the American economy shrunk and it shrunk under this president because of his policies. Jon Scott: Everyone is looking at you as a possible presidential contender four years from now are you thinking about it? Marco Rubio: No all I’m thinking about is doing my job here. And as I’ve always said if you do a good job at the job you have right now you’ll always have all kinds of opportunities to do things perhaps you’ve never even imagined , so that’s what I’m focused on right now I get paid every two weeks to do this job and I’m blessed to have it and I hope I can do a good job for the people of Florida and the people of this country.