During a video call members of Congress held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this weekend, Marco Rubio decided to potentially risk Zelenskyy’s security to score points on Twitter. Rubio tweeted out an image of the call and refused to delete it, despite Ukrainian officials telling members of the call not to share images of the meeting on social media in order to protect Zelenskyy.
Rubio was widely condemned by leaders on both sides of the aisle for putting his self-serving agenda ahead of America’s allies. See below for highlights from the coverage:
MSNBC: “We should note that despite requests not to tweet out images of that Zoom call, some lawmakers, namely Senator Marco Rubio, did so.”
FOX13 Tampa: “[Rubio] and another Republican Senator are coming under fire for sharing photos during that meeting.”
Two Republican senators are facing criticism after tweeting photos of a video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy even though participating lawmakers were told to not share pictures on social media while it was in progress.
Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Steve Daines of Montana posted pictures of Zelenskyy on their Twitter accounts during the Zoom meeting Saturday morning, writing that they were on a call with him.
Democratic Reps. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and Jason Crow of Colorado criticized the senators on Twitter.
Phillips said that the “Ukrainian ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the Zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy.” “Appalling and reckless ignorance by two U.S. Senators,” Phillips wrote.
“The lack of discipline in Congress is truly astounding,” Crow wrote. “If an embattled wartime leader asks you to keep quiet about a meeting, you better keep quiet about the meeting. I’m not saying a damn thing. Lives are at stake.”
Members were explicitly asked not to tweet or post pictures of the call while it was in progress, multiple aides told NBC News. The embassy coordinated this with the offices of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, said a Democratic leadership aide.
Zelensky reportedly has survived multiple assassination attempts since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began late last month, according to The Times of London.
Rubio, Florida’s senior senator and the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, posted a screenshot to Twitter Saturday of a Zoom call with Zelensky. In the image, Zelensky is sitting at a desk next to a Ukrainian flag in a white room.
Rubio’s tweet and a similar post from Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana, drew swift condemnation from Democrats on the call who said lawmakers were specifically asked by Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, not to share any material from the call while it was ongoing to protect Zelensky’s safety.
Rubio’s likely opponent in November, Democratic Rep. Val Demings, also weighed in from her campaign account. “I can’t believe I need to say this, but real leaders put our allies ahead of their own self-importance,” Demings said.
The Florida Democratic Party similarly criticized Rubio, saying in a statement that he “is more concerned with showing off for his Twitter followers than protecting our allies.”
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) shared screenshots of a Senate video call with Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, despite being told not to do so due to concerns about the Ukrainian president’s safety.
“On zoom call now with President Zelensky of Ukraine,” Rubio tweeted Saturday morning along with an image of Zelensky. Daines tweeted a similar image minutes later.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) criticized his fellow lawmakers after the call ended, tweeting that the “Ukrainian ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the Zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy.” (Multiple congressional aides confirmed the directive to NBC News.)
Marco Rubio is one of two Republican lawmakers facing criticism for tweeting photos of a Saturday video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after being told not to share pictures of the meeting while it was in progress.
Rubio and fellow U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, like all others on the call, were explicitly asked to refrain from posting live photos of the Zoom meeting to protect Zelenskyy’s security. It has been reported that Zelenskyy has survived at least three assassination attempts since last week.
Despite persistent attempts on Zelenskyy’s life since Russia invaded Ukraine Feb. 24, both Rubio and Daines disregarded the request. Rubio tweeted a photo of the meeting at 9:45 a.m. Daines followed with his own snapshot eight minutes later.
Several current and former politicians from both sides of the political aisle were quick to deride Rubio and Daines.
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a past chair of the Republican National Committee, shared similarly harsh words. “Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?” he wrote in a quote tweet of Rubio’s post.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Steve Daines (Mont.) shared photos from U.S lawmakers’ virtual meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after they were reportedly asked not to do so due to security concerns.
Both senators shared photos of Zelensky speaking to Congress on Twitter with captions indicating that they were on the call.
Multiple aides told NBC News lawmakers present were directed by Ukrainian officials not to share pictures of the president during the call.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Steve Daines are coming under lots of criticism Saturday after they shared photos of a video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while it was still in progress even though they were specifically asked not to do so. The senator from Florida and his colleague from Montana both posted photos of Zelensky to their Twitter accounts while the Zoom call was ongoing, writing that they were talking with the Ukrainian president.
The criticism didn’t just come from Democrats. Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, also harshly criticized Rubio. “Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?” Steele tweeted. “Why would you risk his safety for a tweet?” NBC News talked to several aides who said the lawmakers were told in no uncertain terms that they should not tweet or otherwise publish any photos of the call while it was in progress to protect the Ukrainian president’s safety.
Several members of Congress who participated in a Saturday video meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were criticized by those who said their decision to post pictures of the call to social media endangered Zelensky.
“#TAKEITDOWN” trended on Twitter after two Republicans, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Steve Daines of Montana, posted pictures of Zelensky speaking during their Saturday morning Zoom meeting. Other congressional participants said the Ukrainian president asked that no one post anything to social media during the call to ensure his security, a matter of particular concern given several failed attempts on his life.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Steve Daines of Montana on Saturday were criticized for sharing images of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on social media after being asked not to do so during a meeting in the interest of the leader’s safety.
Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota excoriated Daines and Rubio in a tweet for their “appalling and reckless ignorance” after posting screenshots of a Saturday Zoom call between Zelensky and several lawmakers while the meeting was still in progress.