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MEMO: 10 Questions Rubio Must Answer In Tonight’s Debate

From: Florida Democratic Primary
To: Interested Parties
Date: October 17, 2016
Subject: Tonight’s Florida Senate Debate

Tonight, Marco Rubio takes the debate stage for the 13th time this election season. Rubio suffered a devastating loss of 66 out of 67 counties against Donald Trump in Florida after his last performance, and has struggled to define his Senate campaign in the months following his statewide rejection. 

After Donald Trump was caught boasting about sexual assault, women began coming forward to share their stories, and Marco Rubio immediately went into hiding. Since then, Rubio has been off the campaign trail, avoiding public events, and dodging questions from reporters rather than answering for his allegiance to the Trump campaign. This ends tonight.  

Floridians have tough questions for their cowardly and absentee Senator who has shown that he will do whatever it takes to advance his own career. When that means trying to get promoted instead of showing up for the job he has, Rubio chooses not to show up. When that means abandoning his principles to stand with his political party, Rubio leaves Florida’s immigrant families behind. When that means supporting an admitted sexual predator to be our next president, Rubio stands by Donald Trump. If the self-interested Senator has even an ounce of respect for the people he wants to represent, he will own up to his choices and explain them once and for all. 

Tonight, Rubio must answer the following:  

1. Will you commit to serve a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate?

While Patrick Murphy pledged to serve a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio has consistently refused to join him. Rubio is widely believed to be eyeing another run for president in 2020. Since he proved entirely incapable of paying attention to his Senate responsibilities while running a presidential campaign the first time around, why should Floridians expect this time to be any different? 

2. Like your presidential nominee, do you believe this election is rigged and we can no longer trust in American democracy? 

Marco Rubio’s candidate for president claims that if he doesn’t win this election, it’s the result of a nationwide coordinated conspiracy against him. Does Marco Rubio agree that if Donald Trump loses it’s the result of fraud rather than the will of the people? Or does he believe that Trump’s widespread accusations of fraud threaten the public’s trust in a peaceful election process? 

3. Multiple women have come forward to share their stories of Donald Trump’s sexual assaults. Do you continue to support him for president? 

Republicans across the country abandoned Trump’s campaign following tape of Trump boasting about sexual assault. Marco Rubio released a single tweet and then went into hiding for four days. Rubio ultimately decided to stand by Trump. Since then, brave women have came forward to share their stories of Trump’s assaults spanning over three decades. Rubio has remained completely silent in the face of these new allegations.  

4. Will you at least admit that what Donald Trump was describing on tape was sexual assault?

Donald Trump explicitly described groping women without consent on the recently released hot mic conversation. Will Marco Rubio at the very least admit that Donald Trump’s described actions were assault, or will he cower behind Donald Trump like Senator Sessions and fail to acknowledge survivors of sexual assault? 

5. If sexual assault allegations aren’t enough for you to justify withdrawing your endorsement of Donald Trump, is there anything Trump can do that would? 

Marco Rubio’s choice for president boasted about sexual assault on tape. This follows months of racist, misogynistic, bigoted, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric and behavior. If this isn’t enough for Marco Rubio to deem Trump unfit for the Presidency, what will it take?  

6. If you can’t stand up to Donald Trump as a presidential nominee, how do you plan to stand up to him if he’s president?

Throughout his campaign, Marco Rubio has promised to be a “check and balance” on whoever the next president is, regardless of which party they’re from.  But Rubio failed to “check” Trump when it was revealed that he bragged about sexual assault, or when he made xenophobic, racist, and sexist statements, mocked people with disabilities, promoted Islamophobia and bullying, invited cyber attacks, and praised Vladimir Putin.  

7. Should Florida children look up to Donald Trump as a role model?

If elected, Donald Trump would be written into every school book, history lesson, and consistently saturated across American media. By supporting his campaign, Marco Rubio is shaping how leadership and power are taught to our next generation.   

8. You promised to support comprehensive immigration reform and then ran away from your own plan. How can Floridians trust that your resolve on any issue won’t just blow away with the political winds?

Marco Rubio helped author and introduce a plan for comprehensive immigration reform. But after Republicans piled on, Rubio ran away from his own plan for reform. He told DREAMers he would fight for them and then abandoned them as well. They now use words like “traitor” and “betrayal” to describe the Senator that left them behind. On immigration reform, strengthening the middle class, a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and a host of other issues, the interests of Floridians come after Rubio’s presidential ambitions and special interest campaign donors. 

9. Why haven’t you held Donald Trump accountable for violating the Cuban embargo, even though you claim it’s a key issue for you? Does Donald Trump have a free pass to violate any law, or was the Cuban embargo not as essential as you claimed?

Rubio has been leading the charge to maintain Cuban sanctions, and has claimed that the embargo was a matter of American national security. When news broke that Donald Trump had violated the Cuban trade embargo and even “instructed his employees on how to make it look as if the trip had been connected to a Catholic charity,” Marco Rubio remained silent. In an interview, Rubio told ESPN/ABC the story is: “something [the Trump campaign] is going to have to give a response to,” and then promptly refused to take any action. 

10. Why should Floridians re-elect you to a job you failed to show up for the first time? 

During his first term, Marco Rubio racked up the worst voting record of any Florida Senator in nearly 50 years. He missed at least a dozen Intelligence Committee Hearings to hold fundraisers and skipped nearly half of all Foreign Relations Committee Hearings on Iran. He attempted to justify his absenteeism by saying that he was running for president and wasn’t running for re-election. But a new report from Politico shows that Rubio has always shirked his duties. The report found Rubio’s chronic absenteeism actually dated back to his days in the state legislature, where Rubio missing almost a third of all committee hearings. Marco Rubio has failed to show up for Florida for nearly 20 years and is now asking Floridians for another taxpayer funded job.  

You can watch the first Florida Senate debate tonight at 7 PM EST live on ABC affiliates across Florida, and online at

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