President Barack Obama chided Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) on Tuesday for supposedly “running away” from a 2013 immigration bill he previously co-sponsored.
Obama said that although Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric on issues like immigration was particularly concerning, candidates like Rubio were guilty of pandering to voters by shifting their stances on key pieces of legislation.
“He may express strong anti-immigration sentiment, but you’ve heard that from the other candidates as well,” Obama said of Trump.
He continued by dinging Rubio.
“You’ve got a candidate who sponsored a bill, that I supported, to finally solve the immigration problem, and he’s running away from it as fast as he can,” Obama said.
Rubio was one of four Republican senators who crossed party lines to sponsor a 2013 immigration bill that included a path to citizenship for some of the approximately 11 million immigrants living in the US without permission. Rubio now maintains that the US needs stronger border-security measures before allowing some immigrants to begin a decades-long pathway to citizenship.
Obama spent much of the press conference attempting to strike parallels between Trump and the Republican presidential field, and said that foreign leaders were “struck” by Trump’s front-running status.
“Intrigued is an interesting way of saying it,” Obama said, when asked about world leaders’ reactions to Trump’s rise. “Struck?”
“I think foreign observers are troubled by some of the rhetoric that’s been taking place in these Republican primaries and Republican debates,” Obama said. “I don’t think it’s restricted, by the way, to Mr. Trump. I find it interesting that everyone is focused on Trump, primarily because he says in more interesting ways what the other candidates are saying as well.”
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