Rubio criticizes reporters, Democrat for racism accusations against McCain

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (R-Fla.) is criticizing news outlets, reporters and a congressman for statements including allegations of racism against the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death MORE (R-Ariz.), as President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' 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." 

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His tweet was in response to a tweet by Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineFirst House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons Hillicon Valley: O'Rourke proposal targets tech's legal shield | Dem wants public review of FCC agreement with T-Mobile, Sprint | Voters zero in on cybersecurity | Instagram to let users flag misinformation Democrat calls for public review of T-Mobile-Sprint merger agreement 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 ObamaTrump has 62 percent disapproval rating in new AP poll Rising Warren faces uphill climb with black voters Obama explains decision to get into movie business: 'We all have a sacred story' MORE because she believed him to be an "Arab."

Rubio's tweet criticized Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Rep. John LewisJohn LewisCummings invites Trump to visit Baltimore House Democrat knocks Trump's Cummings tweet: 'This guy is a terrible, terrible human being' George Wallace's daughter: 'I saw Daddy a lot' during 2016 election MORE (D-Ga.), and reporters Ezra Klein and Don LemonDon Carlton LemonEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall CNN's Don Lemon sued by Hamptons bartender over alleged assault Scarborough blasts 2020 Democrats for attacking Obama's policies more than Trump's 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 OmarJewish Democrats decry Trump's 'loyalty' remarks Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas Pelosi speaks with Israeli president after Trump controversy 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 GrahamGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week 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-CortezStudents retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibIsrael should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support Jewish Democrats decry Trump's 'loyalty' remarks Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPoll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas NJ college censures trustee over posts targeting 'the squad' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' 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.