DREAMers have been confronting members of Congress over their attacks on DACA all summer (see here and here), and last night, they found Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at a South Carolina fundraiser. Going against his former status as a supposed bridge between Latino voters and the GOP, Rubio was no better than Paul Ryan or Rand Paul or Steve King, belittling the DREAMers and dismissing them as his audience booed them.
Here’s what went down, according to CNN:
The audience of nearly 1,200 conservatives jeered the protestors as Rubio waited for them to be escorted out of the Anderson Civic Center, scolding them in the process.
“We are a sovereign country that deserves to have immigration laws,” Rubio said. “You’re doing harm to your own cause because you don’t have a right to illegally immigrate to the United States.”
The crowd cheered him on. One elderly audience member shoved a protester as he weaved his way through the tables. Another, 73-year old Army veteran Turk Culberson, angrily stalked them out of the building, clutching his cane as if it were a baseball bat.
Watch the encounter:
As Greg Sargent writes today at the Washington Post, this episode does not bode well for the future of the GOP. In the months after the 2012 presidential election, many Republicans, including Rubio, saw the need to move forward on immigration reform, and Rubio himself was one of the architects of the Senate immigration bill that passed last summer. But now he has totally walked back that support, flip-flopping against his own bill, calling on Congress to pass piecemeal legislation (that inevitably focuses on border-security first tactics), calling for the end of DACA and the deportation of DREAMers, and now blithely dismissing them from this fundraiser. “This is the opposite direction many GOP strategists hoped the party would move after its historic 2012 loss among Latinos,” Sargent writes, and it is probably indicative of how alienating the GOP presidential primaries are going to be next year.
Echoes Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly:
The lurch of the entire Republican Party into virtual Know-Nothing territory during the last sixteen months or so has been amazing. It seemed appropriately ironic that the trend might be capped by Rick Perry—the 2012 cycle’s chief victim in the presidential field of anti-immigrant hatefulness—being lifted back into contention for 2016 by bellowing with rage at the scofflaws on the border. But no: the incredible self-abasement of Marco Rubio is worse…Steve King couldn’t have said—or it appears, screamed—it better.
And Markos at Daily Kos:
Classy, those Republicans, yelling and stalking and threatening and pushing children, because that makes them feel … fulfilled? And if anyone wonders whether Rubio will get any significant non-Latino Cuban vote, there’s your answer. He’s joined the retrogrades, turning his back on the kind of sane immigration policy that his own Cuban community enjoys.