Factchecks

Marco Rubio Distorts Clinton’s Foreign Policy Record – And His Own

Statement from Deputy Communications Director, Christina Reynolds:

“Marco Rubio’s attempts to curry favor among the Republican base by blasting Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration on foreign policy are ironic considering he backed many of the very policies he now points to as problematic. Rubio supported the US intervention in Libya, saying the administration ‘did the right things.’ At various points, Rubio supported arming the moderate opposition in Syria, a position Hillary Clinton advocated. And in fact, when President Obama sought Congressional authorization to strike Syria for using chemical weapons on their own people, which Hillary Clinton supported, it was Marco Rubio who voted against it.”

 

Background

In his speech this morning, Rubio attempted to airbrush his record on Libya, claiming he supported a stronger approach than the policies the Obama Administration enacted, which he called “half-measures.” But at the time, Rubio supported the actions we took alongside our allies in the intervention to prevent Muammar Qadhafi from committing further atrocities. Moreover, Rubio specifically indicated he was opposed to a military ground presence in Libya, so it remains unclear what additional actions he would have taken.

  • Senator Rubio Letter: Marco Rubio wrote a letter to Senators Reid and McConnell urging them to bring up a resolution “authorizing the President’s decision to participate in allied military action in Libya.”
  • Politico: Rubio said President Obama “did the right things” in Libya.
    • Fox News: BILL O'REILLY: “All right, so you wanted -- you wanted more aggressive action quicker but not necessarily any more military presence.” MARCO RUBIO: “Not on the ground.”
  • Rubio Press Release (July, 2012): “America needs to be on the side of freedom, democracy and human rights in every single case. We’re seeing dividends of that already in Libya, where a free election just elected a pro-American, pro-Western government in charge in Libya.”

 

Rubio also claimed that Hillary Clinton “stood by” while the conflict in Syria devolved into a humanitarian crisis. The truth is that Hillary Clinton was an early supporter for arming the moderate opposition against Assad in 2012. And what’s even more amazing, is that Marco Rubio voted against authorizing President Obama to strike Syria after Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.

  • Foreign Policy: “Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey were in favor of the plan [in 2012] advocated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CIA Director David Petraeus to arm the Syrian opposition, Dempsey testified Thursday.”
  • Politico: “Rubio was an early advocate of arming the Syrian rebels”
  • CBS News: “Obama seeks Syria strike with Congress' approval”
  • Politico: “Rubio the hawk turned dovish on Syria in 2013”
    • Washington Post: “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) … opposed military action in Syria to enforce the red line after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad repeatedly used weapons of mass destruction.”