Presidential races

Florida newspaper: ‘Either do your job, Sen. Rubio, or resign it’

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The editorial board for one of the largest newspapers in Florida called on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to resign from the Senate in a blistering piece released late Tuesday night.

The Sun Sentinel, a south Florida paper that covers Rubio’s home town of Miami and endorsed Rubio for Senate in 2010, accused the freshman senator of “ripping us off” and implored him to “follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner” and resign from his post if he’s unhappy in it.

{mosads}“Your job is to represent Floridians in the Senate,” the paper wrote. “Either do your job, Sen. Rubio, or resign it.”

Rubio has been under fire from some of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, most notably Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, for missing more votes than any other member of the Senate this year.

Rubio has defended missing the votes, arguing that he’s not running for reelection, and that with a Democratic president in the White House, the votes are largely meaningless.

“A lot of these votes are not meaningful, they’re not going to pass and even if they did, the president would veto it,” Rubio told CNN on Sunday.

“I’m not missing votes because I’m on vacation,” he said. “I’m running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again.”

The Sun Sentinel shot back, saying that Rubio was effectively leaving the state with only one of its two representatives in the upper chamber for the next 15 months as he campaigns for the White House.

“You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems,” the paper wrote. “Plus you take a $10,000 federal subsidy — declined by some in the Senate — to participate in one of the Obamacare health plans, though you are a big critic of Obamacare. You are ripping us off, senator.”

Rubio has gone all in on his presidential run, foregoing a potentially long career as a fast-rising party star in the Senate to seek the White House.

Rubio’s youth and anti-Washington message are strengths for him on the campaign trail, but his short record in the Senate has given ammunition to some of his rivals. 

Bush’s campaign team is likening Rubio to President Obama, seeking to frame him as another inexperienced freshman senator running for president.

Rubio, meanwhile, is playing up his frustration with gridlock and status quo in Congress as one of the reasons for his absence. That could be a smart play in an election cycle with a fierce anti-Washington ring to it.
Last week, The Washington Post quoted a source close to Rubio as saying that the Florida Republican “hates” his job in the Senate.

“I don’t know that ‘hate’ is the right word,” Rubio told the paper later. “I’m frustrated.”

The Sun Sentinel responded: “Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We’ve got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government. If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it. Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day’s work.”

Many of the candidates running for president hold office and miss time at their day jobs.

The main stage at the debate on Wednesday night will feature the sitting governors of Ohio and New Jersey, and three current U.S. senators.

Still, the Sun Sentinel noted that other senators running for president, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have missed far fewer votes than Rubio.

In addition, the paper blasted Rubio for comments he made on the Senate floor last week, in which he said federal workers at the V.A. should be fired for not doing their jobs.

“There is really no other job in the country where if you don’t do your job, you don’t get fired,” Rubio said.

Responded the Sentinel: “With the exception of your job, right? Look, a lot us are frustrated by our jobs and office politics. But we still show up for work every day to earn a paycheck. By choosing to stay in the Senate and get the publicity, perks and pay that go with the position — without doing the work — you are taking advantage of us.”

The Sun Sentinel has a record of endorsing Democrats. The paper supported John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008, both of whom ran while in the Senate and missed votes on the campaign trail.

Tags Bernie Sanders Congress D.C. D.C. Florida Marco Rubio Politics Rand Paul Senate United States Washington Washington

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