The Institute of Politics & Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School hosted Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Oct. 1 in the Lohrfink Auditorium. The Republican lawmaker spoke with Mo Elleithee (SFS ’94), the executive director of GU Politics, and presented his thoughts on topics ranging from what Elleithee branded the “current culture war,” from the #metoo movement to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
Rubio also reflected upon immigration, Brett Kavanaugh, and America’s role in the world, before taking questions from students.
A recurring theme in the discussion was Rubio’s worry about the “echo chamber” in American politics. “We don’t know enough people that aren’t like us, we’re increasingly isolated,” he said The Senator also deplored a “total lack of nuance in American politics” and looked towards the prominence of cable news for that problem.
“I’m not going anywhere, you’re not going anywhere, for the rest of our lives were going to share this country and by force we need to figure out a way to work together on something we can agree on or it’s going to be bad for all of us,” Rubio said. “That’s not only common sense, it’s what the system was designed to foster. And that’s not happening and eventually we’re going to pay a terrible price.”
On the then ongoing battle to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Senator carefully weighed his words and said he was open to changing his mind on confirming Kavanaugh if any evidence were to be uncovered in the FBI’s investigation. The event took place before Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which Rubio voted in favor of.
Rubio also emphasized that the public should take any accuser seriously because it could encourage a culture of reporting assaults.
When responding to a student question about rising xenophobia, Rubio gave a passionate response.
“The truth is if two percent of the political voices are xenophobic they are getting fifty to sixty percent of the coverage, and it annoys me because frankly these people are complete losers and they’ve never been successful at anything they’ve ever done,” Rubio said.
Rubio was well received by students of differing political views.
Ryan Kelly (SFS ’22), a self identified Democrat, commended the Republican’s eloquence and knowledge of his audience. “I’m glad I took advantage of this resource. That’s why you come to Georgetown,” Kelly said.“I hope to see more of these events.”
Colton Scrudder (MSB ’22), a member of GU College Republicans, who co-sponsored the event, thought Rubio was “well spoken and engaging” and appreciated the “honest effort to answer questions no matter how difficult they were.” Scrudder was particularly surprised by Rubio’s handling of the NFL anthem protests and found the contrast between Sean Spicer and Rubio’s talks interesting. Scrudder said he prefers “to hear from the politicians themselves.”