In a video message posted Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) forcefully condemned the violence that took place in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday while calling out the hypocrisy of the left and legacy media, which throughout last year downplayed violent riots in American cities as "peaceful protests" for racial justice.
"The events that we saw this week should sicken every one of us. Mob violence of the kind that you see in third world countries happened not just in America, but in your Capitol building. I don't care what hat they wear, I don't care what banner they're carrying, riots should be rejected by everyone every single time," Rubio said in his video statement.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest the certification of the Electoral College results in Congress, which officially made Joe Biden president-elect. An initially peaceful protest turned into mob violence after some of the protesters led the crowd to lay siege on the Capitol. Police officers were assaulted, government property was damaged by the trespassers, and offices in the Capitol were ransacked as the mob ran wild. One woman was fatally shot by Capitol Police and three other members of the mob died of medical complications during the incident. A Capitol Police officer who was violently beaten by rioters wielding a fire extinguisher later died of his injuries.
News media headlines about the incident called it a "riot," a "siege," or even an "insurrection."
A sampling of headlines and front pages of 16 U.S. newspapers in the U.S. capture the violence that unfolded when a… https://t.co/dt2qEruCQw— PBS NewsHour (@PBS NewsHour)1610117841.0
Without making excuses for the violence this week, Rubio accused the media and the left of engaging in hypocrisy for being quick to condemn the riot by Trump supporters but slow to do so for mob violence at Black Lives Matter protests throughout last year.
"Now are the left hypocrites? Absolutely," Rubio said. "I remember what they now are calling 'insurrection,' they were justifying just this summer. They called it 'the language of the unheard' when rioters were burning cities. Is the mainstream media, especially places like CNN and MSNBC outrageously biased? Of course, 100%. I remember one of the CNN hosts last summer on the air saying something like, 'tell me where it says protests need to be polite and peaceful.'"
Rubio was referring to CNN host Chris Cuomo, who after violence and looting by BLM and Antifa last June, said on the air, "show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful."
“Show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful?” - Chris Cuomo, June 2 2020 https://t.co/gIrIOHs2pj— Matt Walsh (@Matt Walsh)1609982208.0
"This kind of blatant bias, this double standard, that's one of the reasons why so many Americans have sought political shelter in divisive political movements and in conspiracy theories that offer them the promise of fighting back against it," Rubio asserted.
"But here's what I want you to hear right now," he said. "We can't allow our anger about all of that stuff to turn us into them."
"Remember what President Nixon said at the White House as he was leaving after his downfall, one of the lessons he said, 'Others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.'
"We can't destroy ourselves," he continued.
Rubio went on to give his opinion on what led to the violence that shocked and horrified Americans this week. He accused the media, Big Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, and the Democratic Party of eroding the confidence of millions of Americans in the integrity of the election.
He also said, without naming President Trump specifically, that politicians lied when they said that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election, which he did not. Trump repeatedly and incorrectly claimed that Pence had the power to reject slates of electors from states whose results were disputed by the Trump campaign.
Now, how do we explain what we saw, how could this happen here in America?
It kind of begins with millions of Americans who voted for President Trump. They saw the nonstop bias and double standard of the legacy media. They see how social media companies covered up stories negative to Joe Biden. They saw how state officials mutilated election integrity laws to help the Democrats. And the result is you have millions of people who are convinced that the election wasn't fair and that the outcome wasn't' t legitimate. Millions of people. And they wanted something done about it.
And of those millions of people, tens of thousands of them came to Washington D.C. this week demanding that action be taken, that we do something. Ninety-nine percent of the people who came here had nothing to do with that mob. Nothing. But one percent of tens of thousands of people is a lot of people. It's enough to inflict damage on buildings, and it's enough to do even more damage to our country.
Now that we're looking at what's going on and learning more about it, there are growing signs that many of those in that mob were believers in a ridiculous conspiracy theory. And others were lied to by politicians that were telling them that the vice president had the power to change the election results.
The result is that now four people have died. Police officers were seriously injured. And our country was embarrassed before the entire world.
Rubio called on the Republican Party to take a moment for "honest reflection," noting that when President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, the GOP controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Four years later, they've lost control of all three.
"We need to reflect on why this has happened, because this country needs a viable and attractive alternative to the agenda of the radical left," Rubio pleaded.
"We shouldn't and we can't go back to the party of 2012, a party that frankly was out of touch with the unheard voices of millions of working Americans," he continued.
"We must continue to fight for working Americans, not for corporations. We welcome legal immigrants, but we have to enforce our laws. We have to take the threat of China seriously. We have to investigate what went wrong in the last election and fix our election laws so people can have faith and confidence in them. We must continue to call out the media bias instead of being bullied by them. And we must oppose political correctness, social media censorship, identity politics, and this cult of wokeness.
"And we can do all these things without indulging the darkest instincts or inciting the most destructive impulses, and without the rhetoric and behavior that keeps the millions of Americans who agree with us from joining us in this fight."