Sen. Marco Rubio called for “honest reflection” in the conservative movement on Friday after a group of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
“For those of us on the center-right of American politics, now is the time that calls for honest reflection,” he said in a video posted to social media.
Rubio reminded Trump supporters that the Republican Party won the House, the Senate, and the White House in 2016 but lost their majorities in all three federal houses of power in four years.
“We need to reflect on why this has happened because this country needs a viable, attractive alternative to the agenda of the radical left,” he said.
Rubio said he did not want to go back to the Republican party of 2012 that was “out of touch” with the working Americans who ultimately rejected the establishment and backed President Trump.
He said Republicans should continue to fight for working Americans over corporations, welcome legal immigrants while enforcing immigration laws, and take the threat of China seriously.
He also called for working to improve America’s elections.
“We have to investigate what went wrong in the last election and fix our elections laws, so people can have faith and confidence in them,” he said.
Rubio appeared to recognize some of Trump’s biggest lessons for the Republican party, noting supporters should continue to call out corporate media bias and the hypocrisy of the left.
“We must continue to call out the media bias instead of being bullied by it,” he said. “And we must oppose political correctness, social media censorship, identity politics, and this cult of wokeness.”
Rubio argued that it was possible to continue fighting for the things that they cared about without being destructive.
“We can do all these things without indulging the darkest instincts or inciting the most destructive impulses — and without the rhetoric or behavior that keep the millions of Americans who agree with us from joining us in this fight,” he said, appearing to criticize some of Trump’s behavior in office that influenced some of his supporters.
The U.S. Capitol is on lockdown after Trump supporters breached the building, breaking through barriers and clashing with police as lawmakers gather for a joint session of Congress to count and certify the electoral votes from the presidential election. https://t.co/8JBb9UWuId
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 6, 2021
Rubio did not defend Trump’s supporters who stormed Capitol Hill, noting the mob violence that killed five Americans including a Capitol Hill Police officer “should sicken every single one of us.”
“I don’t care what hat they wear or what banner they’re carrying, riots should be rejected by everyone every single time,” he said.
But Rubio expressed sympathy for conservatives who were angry about the left and the media and called out their double standard used to judge Trump’s supporters who rioted in the Capitol versus the Black Lives Matter riots over the summer.
“Now, are the Left hypocrites? Absolutely,” he said. “I remember, what they now are calling insurrection, they were justifying just this summer. They were called it the ‘language of the unheard’ when rioters were burning cities.”
Rubio specifically called out CNN and MSNBC for their bias in covering the events, citing remarks from CNN host Chris Cuomo who said in June, “Show me where it says protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful.”
“This kind of blatant bias and double standard is one of the reasons that so many Americans have sought political shelter in divisive political movements and in conspiracy theories that offer the promise of fighting back against it,” he said.
Rubio urged Americans who aligned with Trump not to allow their anger to turn them violent.
“Here is what I want you to hear right now: We can’t allow our anger about all that stuff to turn ourselves into them,” he said.
The Florida senator recalled words from President Richard Nixon who urged his supporters not to give in to hate.
“He said, ‘Others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself,’” Rubio said. “We can’t destroy ourselves.”