Rubio criticizes reporters, Democrat for racism accusations against McCain

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBreak glass in case of emergency — but not for climate change Democrats join GOP in pressuring Biden over China, virus origins Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships MORE (R-Fla.) is criticizing news outlets, reporters and a congressman for statements including allegations of racism against the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (R-Ariz.), as President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE faces widespread condemnation for a tweet in which he told four minority congresswomen to "go back" to where they came from.

Rubio said on Twitter on Friday that even when Republicans respond to racism, "they are called racists." 


His tweet was in response to a tweet by Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineLobbying world Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills Top Democrat leads bipartisan trip to Middle East MORE (D-R.I.), who said he missed the "days when Republicans stood up to racism" with a video of McCain in 2008 disagreeing with a woman who said she could not trust then-presidential candidate Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMillennial momentum means trouble for the GOP Biden's Cuba problem: Obama made a bet and lost Democrats need a coherent response to attacks on critical race theory MORE because she believed him to be an "Arab."

Rubio's tweet criticized Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Rep. John LewisJohn LewisHouse ethics panel decides against probe after Hank Johnson civil disobedience Constitutional rights are the exception Clintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats MORE (D-Ga.), and reporters Ezra Klein and Don LemonDon Carlton LemonOfficer Fanone shares threatening voicemail he got after Jan. 6 testimony Don Lemon defends Tucker Carlson amid confrontation video Lineup for Central Park 'Homecoming' concert includes Springsteen, LL Cool J, New York Philharmonic MORE.

Cicilline responded to Rubio's tweet on Friday by invoking a criticism Rubio had toward Trump during the 2016 GOP presidential primary, writing Friday, "I liked you better when you called the President a 'con artist.' Now you’re just helping his con, Senator."

A CNN spokesperson told The Hill that Lemon was simply asking a question, not criticizing the Arizona Republican. 

“Don Lemon was merely posing a question to his followers in regards to McCain’s position that he put out at that point in time in 2008,” the spokesperson said. “He was not making a statement about Senator McCain.”

Lemon on his program this week also highlighted McCain's past statements in a segment critical of Republicans' handling of Trump supporters' "send her back" chant referring to Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOvernight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy MORE (D-Minn.).  

"Remember the words of the late Senator John McCain in the midst of a hard-fought 2008 presidential campaign when some of his supporters said they were afraid of then-candidate Barack Obama," Lemon said before playing clips including the one tweeted by Cicilline.

A spokesperson for Lewis declined to comment. The Hill has reached out for comment from The New York Times; Condé Nast, which owns Teen Vogue; and Vox, where Klein is an editor.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham, Cuellar press Biden to name border czar Trump takes two punches from GOP The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (R-S.C.) made similar remarks Thursday, tweeting, "If you are a Republican nominee for President — or President — you will be accused of being a racist."

The House this week voted to condemn the Trump tweets as racist. The vote was largely along party lines, with four Republicans and one Independent voting with the Democrats to condemn the president's remarks. 

In the tweets in question, Trump suggested that Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHouse adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators House passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans On The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause and wipe out K per borrower MORE (Mass.), all of whom are women of color, should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Three of the women were born in the U.S., and Omar came to the country as a refugee from Somalia. 

Updated: 1:20 p.m.