They say that a gaffe is the act of telling the truth by accident, and in a moment of candor Sunday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida let slip his true feelings about illegal immigration. Rubio has been trying to cast himself as a born-again opponent of amnesty, but like other Republican squishes like Jeb “Act of Love” Bush, Rubio doesn’t view illegal immigration as a serious crime.
In an interview with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, Rubio was asked if he would be willing to find a way to let undocumented immigrants remain in the U.S., and Rubio answered that he wouldn’t let “criminal aliens” stay. Chuck Todd immediately seized on the error, and a panicky Rubio rushed to repair the damage:
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you by the way quickly on the 11 million, are you still for finding a way for them to legally stay in the United States?
MARCO RUBIO: Yeah, look. If you’re a criminal alien, no, you can’t stay. If you’re someone that hasn’t been here for a very long time, you can’t stay.
CHUCK TODD: Wait a minute. Define criminal alien–
MARCO RUBIO: I do believe we have to have a reasonable solution–
CHUCK TODD: De– define criminal alien. Isn’t anybody who’s here–
MARCO RUBIO: A felon. A felon–
CHUCK TODD: Okay, so not– ’cause some people argue–
MARCO RUBIO: Well I know some people have said that before but I believe–
CHUCK TODD: Okay, all right–
MARCO RUBIO: –the opposite. But– no, but I’ve said that before, Todd. That’s been convicted. I mean, a felon, someone who’s committed a crime, a non-immigration-related– and that’s what I’ve talked about in the past. So I do believe– I don’t think you’re gonna round up and deport 12 million people.
This might not seem like a gaffe to the average person, but the panic in Rubio’s eyes when Chuck Todd zeroed in on it tells you all you need to know about this Republican field. Rubio is selling ISIS as the reason for his conversion, but at heart, he’s still a compromise with the Democrats waiting to happen.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.