Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in a radio interview Monday that the GOP establishment position on immigration is "to do nothing about it."
"Let me ask you now, the Republicans have the majority in the Senate and the majority in the House, where is the great establishment Republican bill to enforce our laws?" Rubio Iowa radio show Mickelson in the Morning, responding to a question about how to assuage voters' concerns that he is part of the establishment because of his role in championing bipartisan immigration legislation in 2013. "Not the Senate immigration bill from 3 years ago. Why aren't they passing an immigration bill right now that fixes all those problems?"
"And the answer is, because they're not interested in moving forward, they're playing prevent defense the whole time," continued Rubio, who has sought to distance himself from the so-called "Gang of 8" bill, which would have provided undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
Rubio cited the money the super PAC supporting Republican candidate Jeb Bush, Right to Rise, is spending on attack ads against him as evidence that he is not a member of the GOP establishment.
"I have taken on almost 22 to 25 million dollars of negative attacks against me," Rubio said. "That money did not come from grassroots conservative activists. That was money raised for a massive super PAC that's supposed to be helping Jeb Bush, and those are million and multi-million dollar checks that went into that super PAC. I'm not complaining. They have a right to do that. I'm just saying that, if I were the establishment candidate, that money would be being spent on my behalf, not against me."
Also on Monday, in another radio interview with host Michael Medved, Rubio further addressed reports that former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a third-party run for president.
"We'll beat Michael Bloomberg as well," Rubio argued, contending that Bloomberg has "worked consistently to undermine" the Second Amendment.
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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