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2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign: Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is a Cuban-American Senator from Florida who sought the Republican party's nomination during the 2016 presidential elections. Rubio was born on May 28, 1971, in Miami, Florida, to Cuban immigrants who fled before Castro took power. His parents received their citizenship in 1975, 19 years after they arrived in the United States.

Rubio attended high school in Miami and received a football scholarship to Tarkio College in Missouri (closed in 1992), but only stayed for one year before returning to Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1992 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in political science, and graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with his juris doctor in 1996.

In 1996 Rubio worked on Bob Dole's presidential campaign, and ran in a special election for the Florida House of Representatives four years later. Marco Rubio won the vacant House of Representatives seat during the special election, and then was victorious again the next year, securing himself a full two year term. Rubio served four full terms in the Florida House of Representatives, twice running unopposed. After his second win in 2002 he was appointed the House Majority Leader by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

Rubio announced his decision to run for a vacant U.S. Senate seat on May 5, 2009, and on November 2, 2010, won the general election. During his tenure in the Senate, Rubio was assigned to the committee on science, commerce, and transportation, the committee on foreign relations, the select committee on intelligence, and the committee on small business and entrepreneurship. While a member of the Senate, Rubio voted to extend tax credits to American businesses funding research and development activities, took part in drafting comprehensive immigration reform legislation, voted against background checks for firearms purchases, voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act, and sponsored legislation to reform the student loan payment system. He is a fiscal conservative in favor of limiting federal spending and growth. Marco Rubio does not believe that humans are contributing to global warming, identifies as pro-life, is opposed to marriage equality, and enjoys strong Tea Party support.

During his campaign Rubio hosted a fundraiser on one of the nights of Yom Kippur at the home of conservative philanthopist Harlan Crow. Crow is a noted collector of Nazi memorabilia, and owns a signed copy of Hitler's novel Mein Kampf, two original works of art by the Nazi leader, and a cabinet full of silverware and place settings used by the German dictator. Rubio's supporters were quick to assert that these items comprised only a small portion of Crow's extensive collection of historical artifacts.

Rubio began reaching out to donors in late 2014 and early 2015, and announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on April 13, 2015. His biggest campaign donor, close friend, and past employer is Norman Braman, a past president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Although Rubio enjoys less support than some other candidates, he still polls consistently near the top of the Republican field.

Following the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, Rubio stated at a pro-Israel rally in Florida that, “We were reminded this week that unfortunately, evil is alive and well in the world. And we are reminded that we are still called to be vigilant and to defeat it in every form that it takes.”

When asked where his first official trip as President would be, at a town hall meeting in Florida on January 13, 2016, Rubio answered “Israel,” without hesitation.

Rubio came in third place during the Republican Iowa caucus on February 1, 2016, receiving 23.1% of the vote and 7 delegates. After a rough week following the February Republican debate, Rubio came in fifth during the New Hampshire primary on February 9, 2016. He won no delegates, but received 10.5% of the vote. Marco Rubio won the Minnesota Republican primary on “Super Tuesday,” his first win of the campaign. After receiving only 27% of the votes and losing to Donald Trump in the winner-take-all Florida primary, Rubio's home state, he announced he would be suspending his campaign on March 15, 2016.

Marco Rubio told Ami Magazine that he would be in favor of Israel annexing the Golan Heights, in March 2016. In an interview with the magazine, Rubio stated “I believe at this point [in regard to] the Golan Heights, Israel should take a position that it is now something they will permanently hold, especially given what’s happened in Syria.”

U.S. - Israel Relationship

  • “If there were more countries like Israel in the Middle East, more pro-America, free-enterprise democracies, the world would be so much safer.”
    (Campaign speech in Houston, February 24, 2016)
  • “I believe my election or the election of someone like me, in and by itself will help reset (the U.S.-Israel) relationship in the eyes of the world.”
    (Jewish Journal, February 8, 2016)
  • “There is only one pro-American free enterprise democracy in the Middle East, it is the state of Israel.”
    (Republican Debate, January 2016)
  • “If America doesn’t stand with Israel, who would we stand with? If Israel — a democracy, a strong American ally on the international stage — if they are not worthy of our unconditional support, then what ally of ours around the world can feel safe in their alliance with us?”
    (JTA, October 29, 2015)
  • “It is long past time for President Obama and Hillary Clinton to call on President Abbas - clearly and publicly? - to work to stop the anti-Semitism and terror. And it is also long past time for President Obama and Hillary Clinton to pledge? - clearly and publicly - ?to block the Palestinian campaign to bypass peace with Israel by unilaterally declaring statehood”
    (Medium, October 8, 2015)
  • “No people on Earth want peace more than the people of Israel. No people have suffered more at the hands of this violence and this terrorism than the people of Israel. And they need America's support, unconditionally.”
    (CNN, March 20, 2015)


  • “Let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country. That’s why he passed... the deal with Iran...  The problem with the Sunni forces in the region is they don’t trust this administration. This administration cut a deal with their mortal enemies, the Shia, in Iran.”
    (Republican Debate, February 6, 2016)
  • “[The Iranians] have a desire not simply to conquer the Middle East and to become the dominant power in that region, but ultimately to be able to hold America hostage. That is why they're developing long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States, and that is why they're going to use those $100 billion to expand their conventional capabilities and to one day buy or build a nuclear weapon. When I am president of the United States, on my first day in office, we are canceling the deal with Iran, and nations will have to make a choice. They can do business with Iran, or they can do business with America, and I am very confident they're going to choose America before they choose the Iranian economy.”
    (Republican debate, January 28, 2016)
  • “We are not going to turn over billions of dollars in sanctions relief to a government that is developing long range missiles, sponsors Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, props up Assad, and by the way, has always had a nuclear program, and I believe will eventually use that money to either buy or build a nuclear warhead to hold the world hostage, including America. So we're going to cancel the deal with Iran.”
    (Fox News, January 19, 2016)
  • “Barack Obama does not believe that America is a great global power... And that's how you get a foreign policy where we cut deals with our enemies like Iran and we betray our allies like Israel.”
    (Republican Presidential Debate, January 14, 2016)
  • “One of the things that’s hurt this country in the Middle East has been this president’s betrayal of our allies in favor of Iran with this deal.”
    (The Gaurdian, January 4, 2016)
  • “If I’m elected president, we are going to cancel the Iran deal on our first day in office. And I’m going to turn to Iran and the world and say this: ‘You don’t need nuclear energy. You’re an oil-rich country. If you want nuclear energy, you can have it the same way South Korea and other countries do it, and that is, you can import the enriched uranium. You don’t have to enrich it yourself. If you try to build a weapon, we will destroy your weapons system. And as long as you do not agree to these terms, we will cripple your economy with sanctions.”
    (Jewish Insider, December 21, 2015)
  • “The Iranian regime and the world should know that a majority of members in this Congress do not support this deal and that the deal could go away on the day President Obama leaves office. The next President could just lift that with the stroke of a pen.”
    (ABC News, July 25, 2015)
  • “The president's proposed deal with Tehran will likely lead to a cascade of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and could force Israel to take bold action to defend itself, making war with Iran even more likely.”
    (McClatchy, May 13, 2015)

Hamas and the Situation in Gaza

  • “The Palestinian Authority, which has strong links to terror, they teach little kids, five year olds, that it's a glorious thing to kill Jews.”
    (Campaign speech in Houston, February 24, 2016)
  • “I will immediately shred this president’s disastrous deal with Iran. And those who are now rushing to do business with Iran need to know that upon taking office, I will re-impose the sanctions that President Obama plans to waive over congressional objection.”
    (Republican Jewish Coalition Forum, December 3, 2015)
  • “It is tragic, unfortunately, that civilians are dying in Gaza. But the reason why civilians are dying is 100 percent Hamas’ fault. You see, this is an organization that puts rockets and military installations right next to nurseries and hospitals and civilian population centers. You know why they do that? They do that because they know that when they launch a rocket, Israel will respond by hitting that rocket launcher, and when that rocket launcher is destroyed, so are the areas around it, and then they can get the cameras to go in there and say, 'Look what Israel did. They wiped out a nursery or an apartment building.'”
    (Newsmax, July 17, 2014)

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • “We will not be an impartial advocate when it comes to the issue of Israel. When I am President, we are going to take sides, and we are going to be on Israel's side.”
    (Campaign speech in Houston, February 24, 2016)
  • “Reminiscent of the days when Yasser Arafat talked peace in English and jihad in Arabic, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas... ?is inciting the bloodshed.”
    (Medium, October 8, 2015)
  • “... The conditions for a two-state solution at this moment do not exist. I think the most we can hope for in the short term is that the Palestinian Authority will be able to provide a level of stability in that territory. And ultimately, the conditions will rise up with new leadership that will allow something like that to happen”
    (Times of Israel, May 14, 2015)
  • “Israel is fighting for their very survival. On the other side of this conflict is a terrorist organization bent on their destruction.”
    (Newsmax, July 17, 2014)

National Security Team

  • Elliott Abrams, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy
  • General Keith Alexander, former Director, National Security Agency
  • Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Eliot Cohen, former Counselor of the Department of State
  • Senator Norm Coleman
  • Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
  • Ambassador Eric Edelman, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
  • Aaron Friedberg, former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President
  • Kim Holmes, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
  • Ambassador Robert Joseph, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
  • Senator Jon Kyl
  • John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy
  • Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General
  • Andrew Natsios, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Dan Senor, former Senior Advisor & Chief Spokesman, Coalition in Iraq
  • Ambassador Kristen Silverberg, former Ambassador to the European Union
  • Senator Jim Talent
  • Dov Zakheim, former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)