As recently as last month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was going out of his way to make clear he had no interest in running for another term.
I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 17, 2016
In fact, while on the campaign trail, Rubio vowed he wouldn’t run again so many times that the American Bridge PAC put together this compilation video of all the times he said so:
But Rubio, whose once-promising presidential ambitious fizzled quicker than you can say “Little Marco,” now seems to have changed his mind. A Washington Post report cities Sunday’s mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando as a big reason for Rubio’s reconsideration:
Rubio said his decision followed a Sunday conversation with his friend, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R), who is running to succeed him in the Senate, on the sidelines of the scene of the terrorist attack in Orlando.
“Obviously, I take very seriously everything that’s going on — not just Orlando, but in our country,” Rubio said. “I enjoy my service here a lot. So I’ll go home later this week, and I’ll have some time with my family, and then if there’s been a change in our status I’ll be sure to let everyone know.”
It’s odd that a horrific attack on LGBT people would play a major role in prompting Rubio to consider another term, because he certainly hasn’t established a reputation for being a friend to that community.
Rubio has consistently opposed marriage equality — in 2012, he recorded robocalls for the National Organization of Marriage urging Americans to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians, and has previously touted endorsements from anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council — supported allowing government employees to discriminate against LGBT people because of “religious liberty,” and doesn’t think LGBT couples should be able to adopt because children shouldn’t “be part of a social experiment.”
Rubio: If We Don’t Stop Gay Rights, Soon The Teachings Of The Catholic Church Will Be ‘Hate Speech’LGBT by CREDIT: AP Photo/David Goldman In a new interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network…thinkprogress.orgBut then again, people are capable of change, and Rubio was one of the few Republicans to acknowledge that the shooting was an attack on LGBT people.
“We stand for and with all Americans, irrespective of their sexual orientation, irrespective of their party ideology, irrespective of where they live. We are all Americans,” Rubio said during a press briefing just hours after the attack.
If he does decide to seek another term, time will tell whether Rubio will put his money where his mouth more effectively than House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who tweeted on Tuesday that “The LGBT community was attacked for who they are,” a day before the caucus he leads blocked a vote on nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.
In addition to the LGBT protections House Republicans blocked, Democrats have also been pushing for gun control measures in the wake of Orlando. Rubio, however, has a long record of opposing those.
After President Obama announced a series of executive actions to tighten gun laws in January, then-candidate Rubio responded by saying that “law-abiding gun owners are not the problem in this country.”
“The problem are criminals, and criminals don’t care what laws you pass,” he added. “You can pass all the gun laws in the world that you want. It will not stop the criminals.”