U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was quick to strike out at Pete Buttigieg after the U.S. Secretary of Transportation was asked on Sunday to respond to the Florida Republican's remarks calling protecting same-sex marriage under federal law a "stupid waste of time."
Rubio's remarks haven't been well-received, with many pointing out the fallacies in his comments.
The far right Florida GOP Senator, running to keep his seat against a popular Democrat, U.S. Rep. Val Demmings, was one of 50 Republicans Huffpost and CNN asked if they would vote for a bill to protect existing same-sex marriages. He was the only one who leveled what could be called a nasty attack on the very institution countless LGBTQ Americans spent years fighting to enter.
"Marco Rubio told me that he is a NO on House’s same-sex marriage bill, calling it a 'stupid waste of time,'" CNN's Manu Raju reported last Wednesday. He also noted that "when he said that, there was another senator on the elevator who heard him: Tammy Baldwin, who is gay."
Some Republican Senators said they would vote to protect same-sex marriage, some said they didn't think it was necessary but would vote yes if the bill came to the floor, some said no, some were noncommittal, and many didn't bother to respond.
But Rubio was the only one to take a swing at the marriages of well over a half-million same-sex couples across America.
On Sunday, CNN's Jake Tapper brought up the Florida Republican's remarks, and asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for a response.
“If he’s got time to fight against Disney,” Sec. Buttigieg said, referring to the GOP's attack on the entertainment giant after it voiced concern about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' "Don't Say Gay" bill, “I don’t know why he wouldn’t have time to help safeguard marriages like mine. But this is really, really important to a lot of people. It’s certainly important to me.”
“Our marriage deserves to be treated equally. And I don’t know why this would be hard for a senator or a congressman," Buttigieg noted.
“If they don’t want to spend a lot of time on this they can vote ‘yes’ and move on,” the Transportation Secretary added. “And that would be really reassuring for a lot of families around America, including mine.”
Rubio, who voted against confirming Buttigieg's nomination, was quick to respond with a video that attacked and attempted to mock the Cabinet Secretary.
Implying that marriage is a state issue (a claim many disagree with) the Florida Senator began by denigrating Buttigieg for his Harvard education, then claiming he "never learned the difference between the state level and the federal level."
Rubio's remarks include anti-LGBTQ attacks and even an attack on batteries from China, while implying that protecting marriage is not a problem that matters to "real people." And he repeated the GOP talking point, which Buttigieg in Congress just last week debunked, that all electric cars cost $65,000.
"I'm not going to focus on the agenda that dictated [sic] by a bunch of affluent, elite liberals and a bunch of Marxist misfits," Rubio concluded, "who sadly, today control the agenda of the modern Democratic Party."
On social media many pushed back against Rubio's claims.
CNN's John Harwood highlighted Rubio saying protecting marriage is "a fake problem," as did MSNBC columnist Michael Cohen (not the former Trump attorney) who tweeted: "Equal rights for LGBTQ Americans is a 'fake problem.'"
"Children of working Americans deserve a federal guarantee that their parents’ marriages aren’t up for debate," tweeted Alex Johnson.
Journalist and political commentator David A. Andelman: "And this is how @marcorubio and the @GOP make sure they get not a single #LGBTQ vote in 2022 or 2024 or never?!"
Author Jeff McKown wrote: "As a working Floridian in the LGBTQ+ community, I am also struggling. I need to understand why @marcorubio recently said voting to support my right to be married is a 'stupid waste of time.' He knows damn well the Boggs decision puts Obergfell in jeopardy,and he doesn’t care."
Some pointed out Rubio's votes against Democratic legislation that would help the working Americans he claimed he wanted to help.
"Working Americans do struggle. Weird you vote to cut their healthcare, child tax credits, funding for small bizs & anything else that'd help them. Also, they can't act like spoiled idiots w/ their $ and then put it all on the FL GOP credit card like you," tweeted Cliff Schecter, the president of a public relations firm, and an author and syndicated columnist.
"(1) Republicans don't have policy that would help w/ gas prices & flight cancellations: they want US to focus on them, but not so hard to realize they have no solutions (2) Republicans want US to categorize all the cruel things they do to minority populations, as 'culture war,'" wrote economist David Rothschild as he began a series of tweets.
"You've done literally nothing whatsoever to combat gas prices, even going so far as to vote *against* an anti price-gouging bill," one Twitter user noted.
Others just openly mocked Rubio, like this tweet from an account named Noble Prize in Sarcasm: "Marco got dunked on so bad by Buttigieg he had to make an emergency video."
And this Twitter user who wrote: "Pro Tip: When whining about how you can relate to the plight of the average working American, maybe don’t do it in a crisp white polo sitting on the deck of your spacious Florida mansion surrounded by sunshine and palm trees."
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