Marco Rubio

[Back to Election Central]


Marco Rubio is a Cuban-American Senator from Florida. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 from the 111th district, and became Speaker of the Florida House in 2006. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and serves on the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He announced his campaign for the Republican nomination in April 2015 at the Freedom Tower in Miami. 

On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what Marco Rubio has said on the campaign trail. For our take on why these are the 12 issues that are most important to our community, read here.


Foreign Policy     

Domestic Policy


U.S. Role in the Middle East 

Voting Rights 


U.S. Response to ISIL

Civil Rights + Civil Liberties








Community Policing




Bigoted Speech


Iran Negotiations 

Immigration Reform

Key Advisors

  • Rich Beeson: Deputy Campaign Manager. Beeson worked as a Political Director for the Republican National Committee and as Political Director for presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

  • Chip Englander: Senior Advisor: Englander started off the 2016 presidential election cycle as campaign manager to Rand Paul. After Paul’s campaign suspension, Englander became candidate Marco Rubio’s senior Midwest advisor.

  • Jessica Ennis: Political Director. A Republican campaign aide, Ennis has worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign as well as George W. Bush’s in 2004.

  • Jamie Fly: Foreign Affairs Advisor. He was a nonproliferation aide under former President George W. Bush with strong ties to the Republican Party’s neoconservatives. Fly went on to become the Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a prominent neoconservative think tank whose founders include Dan Senor, Robert Kagan, and Bill Kristol.

  • Todd Harris: Strategist. Harris has worked on several state and national elections including presidential hopefuls John McCain and John Kasich in 2000, Jeb Bush’s 2002 gubernatorial race in 2002 and Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004 and Representative Marco Rubio’s 2010 Senate race.

  • Terry Sullivan: Campaign Manager. Sullivan worked on Senator Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign as Deputy Chief of Staff. Sullivan has since been running the Senator’s “Reclaim America” leadership PAC.

SuperPAC Support: Conservative Solutions PAC.


The U.S. Role in the Middle East

In response to a question about if the U.S. needs to be able to torture  - including the use of waterboarding - suspected terrorists, Rubio said “No, of course not. And we don’t have to in order to defeat terrorists. The way you defeat terrorists is pretty straightforward. It’s difficult to do, but it has to be done. When I’m president of the United States, the best intelligence agencies in the world that right now have been hamstrung. They’re going to be expanded. And the best intelligence agencies in the world are going to find terrorists. And then the best military in the world, which needs to be rebuilt because — because Barack Obama is gutting our military. He’s going to leave us with the smallest Army since the end of World War II, and the smallest Navy in a century, and the smallest Air Force we’ve ever had. We are going to rebuild that military and that military is going to find the terrorists and destroy them. And if we capture any of these terrorists alive, they’re not going to have the right to remain silent. And they’re not going to go to a courtroom in Manhattan. They’re going to go to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and we will find out everything they know and we’ll do so legally.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

"Number one, on the Libya situation, we didn’t topple Gadhafi, the Libyan people toppled Gadhafi. The only choice before America that this president had to make is, does it happen quickly or does it take a long time? And I argued if it takes a long time, you’re going to have rebel forces emerge like these radical Islamists to take advantage of the vacuum. And that’s what happened. That’s where the term “lead from behind” came. And that’s the foreign policy that apparently Senator Cruz appears to agree with. On John Kerry, yes, you know why, because every day John Kerry wasn’t appointed was another day Hillary Clinton was still in charge of the State Department. And she was absolutely horrible. I couldn’t imagine that they were going to find somebody even worse than her, but this president never ceases to amaze." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

“He’s [Russian President Vladimir Putin] doing it because he senses a vacuum and he can position himself as a geopolitical equal to the United States. Perhaps even a superior in the case of the Middle East.” (October 2015, Fox News)

"We are eviscerating our military, and we have a president that is more respectful to the ayatollah in Iran than he is to the prime minister of Israel." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

“I believe the onus of maintaining American Strength lies where the buck stops. It is up to our next president to right the wrongs done by our current one. It is up to our next president to properly fund and modernize our military. It is up to our next president to restore our people’s faith in the promise and power of the American ideal.” (May 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

In speaking about President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Sen. Rubio commented, “It was not a mistake for the President to go into Iraq based on the information that he was provided as President.” (May 2015, The Hill)

“I would prefer for Iran to be governed by normal people and not a radical jihadist cleric. But that’s the world we have, and we have to confront it. Now here’s the question. If we don’t lead the world in confronting it, who will lead the world in confronting it, because the truth is, no one can. The United Nations can’t do it, the Russian obviously are in many ways supportive of some of the things that are happening. China has no interest in it. There is no substitute for American leadership on the global stage. And you can ignore our foreign adversaries, but they won’t ignore us. And eventually, you’re going to have to deal with them. So more often than not, the choice before us is do we deal with them now, earlier, when they are easier, not easy, but easier to confront, or do we wait for this problem to grow bigger, costlier, more expensive, and more difficult to confront?” (April 2015, Washington Post)

U.S. Response to ISIL

“I've argued from the very beginning is ISIS -- in order to defeat ISIS, you must deny them operating spaces. This is how ISIS or any radical group, for that matter, can grow. It's how Al Qaida was able to carry out 9/11, is that the Taliban gave them an operating space in Afghanistan. Today that operating space has largely been based in Iraq and Syria, but I've been warning about the Libyan presence for the better part of two years. So they need to be targeted wherever they have an operating space. They do need to be defeated on the ground by a ground force made up primarily of Sunni Arabs themselves. This is a radical Sunni movement. They can only be defeated if they are driven out and the territory is held by Sunni Arabs. But it will require a specific number of American special operators, in combination with an increase in air strikes. And that will include, if necessary, operating spaces in Libya, which, in fact, they are using to project into the Sinai against Egypt and ultimately into Europe, as well.” (March 3, 2016,  GOP Debate in Michigan)

“When I’m president of the United States, we are going to win this war on ISIS. The most powerful intelligence agency in the world is going to tell us where we are, the most powerful military in the world is going to destroy them. And if we capture any of them alive, they are getting a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we are going to find out everything they know.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

“We are in a war against ISIS. They are trying to attack us here in America. They attacked us in Philadelphia two weeks ago. And the last line standing between them and our families might be us and a gun.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

"We must win the information war against ISIS. Every war we have ever been involved in has had a propaganda informational aspect to it. ISIS is winning the propaganda war. They are recruiting people, including Americans, to join them, with the promise that they are joining this great apocalyptic movement that is going to defeat the West. We have to show what life is really like in ISIS territory, and we have to show them why ISIS is not invincible, by going out and conducting these attacks and publicizing them to those who they recruit." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"ISIS is a radical Sunni group. They cannot just be defeated through air strikes. Air strikes are a key component of defeating them, but they must be defeated on the ground by a ground force. And that ground force must be primarily made up of Sunni Arabs themselves, Sunni Arabs that reject them ideologically and confront them militarily. We will have to embed additional American special operators alongside them to help them with training, to help them conduct special missions, and to help improve the air strikes. And because of the budget cuts we are facing in this country, we are going to be left with the oldest and the smallest Air Force we have ever had. We have to reverse those cuts, in addition to the cuts to our Navy and in addition to the cuts to our Army, as well." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"But this is what’s important to do is we must deal frontally with this threat of radical Islamists, especially from ISIS. This is the most sophisticated terror group that has ever threatened the world or the United States of America. They are actively recruiting Americans… We also understand that this is a group that’s growing in its governance of territory. It’s not just Iraq and Syria. They are now a predominant group in Libya. They are beginning to pop up in Afghanistan. They are increasingly involved now in attacks in Yemen. They have Jordan in their sights. This group needs to be confronted with serious proposals." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"This is not a geopolitical issue where they want to conquer territory and it’s two countries fighting against each other. They literally want to overthrow our society and replace it with their radical, Sunni Islamic view of the future." (November 2015, The Atlantic)

"Given that the Islamic State has already inspired homegrown terrorists in the United States, President Obama’s failure to defeat this threat and his continued neglect of Syria should be viewed with considerable alarm by all Americans." (August 2015, Foreign Policy op-ed)

“Empowering and supporting Syria’s opposition today will give us our best chance of influencing it tomorrow.” (April 2015, Daily Caller)

"In Iraq, it is imperative that we use all of the leverage at America’s disposal to negotiate a power-sharing deal that will give predominantly Sunni provinces, such as Anbar and Nineveh, assurances that their rights will be respected by Baghdad even after the defeat of the Islamic State. Sunnis do not want to risk a repeat of the fiasco that occurred when the Obama administration pulled out all U.S. combat troops in 2011." (August 2015, Foreign Policy)

“What we need to be authorizing the president to do is to destroy and to defeat them. And allow the commander in chief, both the one we have now and the one who will follow, to put in place the tactics, the military tactics necessary to destroy and defeat ISIL.” (February 2015, The Hill)

In speaking about the role of regional actors, Sen. Rubio said, “In addition to the Kurds and Sunni tribes, this should include the Persian Gulf countries and those such as Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, many of which realize that this fight is not just a military one but also an ideological battle for the heart and soul of Islam. The current coalition is suffering because our allies and friends doubt our commitment to this effort.” (May 2015, Washington Post)

 “The President should increase the number of U.S. forces in Iraq … Having the proper number of U.S. forces in Iraq is crucial for both weaning the Iraqi government off its reliance on Iran for military assistance and moving towards a unified and inclusive Iraq.” (May 2015, Washington Post)

“First of all, I believe we could've prevented much of what's happened with ISIS had we become engaged in the Syrian conflict earlier. At the initial stages of that conflict the vast majority of people opposing Assad were Syrians who were rebelling against the leadership of that country.” (May 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)


"We won’t be able to take more refugees. It’s not that we aren’t compassionate. But we can’t. No way to background check." (November 2015, Twitter)

"You can have a thousand people come in and 999 of them are just poor people fleeing oppression and violence. But one of them is an ISIS fighter. If that's the case, you have a problem. There's no way to vet that out. There's no background check system in the world that allows us to find that out because who do you call in Syria to background check them?" (November 2015, Candidate Forum in South Carolina)

In his support for a no-fly zone over Syria, Rubio said, "Number one, [it would allow] a non-radical jihadist group to organize and prepare themselves. Number two [it would] stem some of this flow of migrants that are leaving and going into Europe. If they had a place they could stay safely, they wouldn’t make that journey. Number three, [it would] ultimately have something in place for a future without Assad." (October 2015, Fox News)

When asked if the US should be accepting more Syrian refugees and what, if elected, would be his policy towards asylum seekers, Rubio responded,  "We’ve always been a country that’s been willing to accept people who have been displaced. I would be open to that if it can done in a way that allows us to ensure that among them are not infiltrated – people who were, you know, part of a terrorist organization that are using this crisis.” (September 2015, Boston Herald radio interview)

" is little wonder that the United States is unable to find more than 60 recruits to train given the conditions imposed on our training program and uncertainty about the lengths to which we will go to support them once they are back on the battlefield. To get American training, rebels must pledge that they will only fight the Islamic State and not the Assad regime that is responsible for the vast majority of deaths in a war that has claimed more than 240,000 lives. We must make clear that the United States will fight the evils represented both by the Islamic State and Assad. The United States should work with our allies, both Arab and European, to impose a no-fly zone over parts of Syria that will prevent Assad’s air force from dropping barrel bombs and chlorine gas bombs on civilian neighborhoods. We should also work with our allies, particularly with neighboring states such as Jordan and Turkey, to set up safe zones in border regions of Syria, where the moderate opposition can begin to govern free of the threat of regime (or Islamic State) attacks. Finally, we should begin intensive planning now, in cooperation with allies and multilateral organizations, to prepare for a post-war settlement in Syria once Assad is overthrown — as eventually he will be. This is the kind of planning that the Obama administration failed to do in Libya and that the Bush administration failed to do in Iraq — both failures for which we continue to pay a heavy price." (August 2015, Foreign Policy op-ed)

 “I still think that it’s good we’re conducting airstrikes. The truth is we probably need more.” (May 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

“While I have long argued forcefully for engagement in empowering the Syrian people, I have never supported the use of U.S. military force in the conflict. And I still don’t. I remain unconvinced that the use of force proposed here will work.” (September 2013,

“America must not turn its back on the Syrian people. Our interests are still served by the rapid resolution of the conflict and the removal of al-Assad from power.” (March 2013, CNN )


When asked if the Palestinian Authority is guilty of inciting violence against Israelis, Rubio replied “Well, that’s undeniable. First of all, they’ve said, they’ve encouraged people to do so. And you’ve seen the speeches of the Palestinian Authority president how glorious this is that they’re doing these sorts of things. But let me go back for a moment. The policy Donald has outlined, I don’t know if he realizes, is an anti-Israeli policy. Maybe that’s not your intent but here’s why it is an anti-Israeli policy. There is no peace deal possible with the Palestinians at this moment. There just isn’t. Because there’s no one to negotiate with. The Palestinian Authority is not interested in a serious deal and they are now in union with Hamas, an organization whose specific purpose is the destruction of the Jewish state. Every time that Israel has turned over territory of any kind, be is Gaza, or now in Judea and Sumaira, it is used as a launching pad to attack Israel. And that’s what will happen again. These groups are not interested in a deal with Israel. What they are interested in is ultimately removing the Jewish state and occupying its entire territory. So maybe in 30 years the conditions will exist, but they do not exist now.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

"To have a president forcing the Israelis to the table is harmful to the Israeli and emboldens Israel's enemies." (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

"I don’t know if Donald realizes this. I’m sure it’s not his intent perhaps. But the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israels. Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their four- year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rockets and terrorist attacks again Israel on an ongoing basis. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible. And so the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not — I’m not going to sit here and say, “Oh, I’m not on either side.” I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

"A deal is not a deal when you’re dealing with terrorists. Have you ever negotiated with terrorists?...he [Donald Trump] might be able to build condos in the Palestinian areas, but it's not a real estate deal." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

“The front-runner in this race, Donald Trump, has said he’s not going to take sides on Israel versus the Palestinians because he wants to be an honest broker. Well, there is no such thing as an honest broker in that. Because the Palestinian Authority, which has strong links to terror, they teach little kids that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews." (February 24, 2016, Houston campaign speech)

“Some in our own party actually question Israel’s commitment to peace. Some in our own party actually call for more sacrifice from the Israeli people. They are dead wrong, and don’t understand the enduring bond between Israel and America. Let me be crystal clear: there is no moral equivalence between Israel and its enemies. Understanding that fundamental truth is essential to being the next Commander in Chief. This is not a real estate deal with two sides arguing over money. It’s a struggle to safeguard the future of Israel.” (December 2015, Republican Jewish Coalition)

On Medium, Rubio casts himself as a protector of Israel and says that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton show "indifference ... toward incitement and violence against Jews" that "fits a long-running pattern of callousness and neglect toward the Jewish state." (October 2015, Medium)

“I would say what many Israelis say, which is yeah, that’s the ideal outcome. It’s also the least likely. And here’s why, because you don’t have the conditions today for that to happen. … They teach their children to hate Jews, that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews. These are the sorts of things that make it impossible at this moment to have an agreement. And in fact, if you’re standing from the Israeli perspective, what you see is the possibility that that second state that some are calling for would be nothing more than a launching pad for further attacks against Israel in the future.” (March 2015, Washington Post)

When asked if he supports a two-state solution, Sen. Rubio opined, “As conditions currently exist, no … There’s no unity in the Palestinian Government or there’s no responsible leadership. They teach their children that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews. They mismanage the current system of government they have in place today. And they’ve rejected not one, but two very generous Israel offers for peace.” (May 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

In qualifying his support of Israel, Sen. Rubio stated, “ The first is a moral one. Israel was created as a homeland for the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Holocaust … and the other is this, it is the only free-enterprise, democratic, pro-American country in the Middle East.” (May 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)


No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Iran Nuclear Deal 

"Look at the deal with Iran, which is basically just a series of concessions to an enemy of the United States." (September 2015, Values Voter Summit

"Our allies are alarmed that the president plans to grant Iran generous sanctions relief, potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars, without demanding the dismantlement of its nuclear program. Their concerns are only magnified because our failure to do more to stop the jihadis rampaging across Iraq and Syria has allowed Iran to claim the lead role in the anti-Islamic State coalition. Iranian-backed militias are at the forefront of the fight in both Syria and Iraq — a development that leads many Sunnis to conclude that the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, are the lesser evil. We must make clear that the United States does not have a secret plan (as many conspiracy theorists in the Middle East imagine) to trade Islamic State domination of Iraq and Syria for Iranian domination." (August 2015, Foreign Policy op-ed)

“I stand with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on any nuclear agreement with Iran containing an unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.” (

“The Iranian regime and the world should know that this is your deal with Iran-yours meaning this administration- and the next president is under no legal or moral obligation to live up to it...The deal could go away on the day President Obama leaves office.” (July 2015, Huffington Post)

“Iran will be not just a nuclear weapon power, but will have the capability to deliver that weapon to the continental United States in less than a decade….I don’t think any of us wants to live in a country where a radical Shiite cleric in Tehran can have a nuclear weapon and an ICBM that can hit where we are standing right now.” (August 2015, Time

Voting Rights

When asked about his support of laws requiring voter identification, Senator Rubio responded, "What's the big deal? What is the big deal?" (May 2012, Mitt Romney campaign event)

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

“The Second Amendment, as I've said before, is not a suggestion. It is the constitutional right of every American to protect themselves and their families. It is a right that -- it is the Second Amendment for a reason. It is right after the defense of the freedom of speech for a reason, for clearly the founders of our nation understood and the framers of the Constitution understood that you cannot have life and you cannot have liberty and cannot pursue happiness if you are not safe. And the Second Amendment -- when people talk about gun laws, what they need to realize is, criminals don't follow gun laws. They're criminals. By definition, they ignore the law. But the gun rights of Americans, if you are talking to a law- abiding citizen and a gun-owner like myself, if you pass a law, I will follow whatever the law is. A criminal will not do it. They will continue to pursue these guns on the black market, where they then go out and commit crimes and they steal guns from each other. Gun laws are not effective. They simply do not provide for safety. But they do, however, ensure that law-abiding people don't have access to weapons to protect themselves and guns to protect themselves, but criminals always will be well armed. They don't care about the law; they don't follow the law. We will protect the Second Amendment when I'm president of the United States.” (March 3, 2016,  GOP Debate in Michigan)

"Justice Scalia — in the history of the republic, there has never been anyone better than him at standing for the principle that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document — it is supposed to be applied as originally meant." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

"I'm tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this President's done. Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today: He gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims." (February 3, 2016, New Hampshire campaign event)

"The majority of the people on the no-fly list are often times people that just basically have the same name as somebody else who doesn't belong on the no-fly list. Former Sen. Ted Kennedy once said he was on a no-fly list. There are journalists on the no-fly list." (December 2015, CNN)

"If we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin, violate God's law and sin, if we're ordered to stop preaching the gospel, if we are ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that." (November 2015, Associated Press)

"Discrimination on the basis of race is already illegal in America. We will enforce those laws through the civil rights division [of the Justice Department]." (July 2015, Associated Press)

“We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. So what’s the next step after that, after they’re done going after individuals? The next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. That’s a real and present danger” (May 2015, the 700 Club)

“I don't believe that gay Americans should be denied services at a restaurant or a hotel or anything of that nature. I also don't believe however that a caterer or a photographer should be punished by the state for refusing to provide services for a gay wedding because of their religious-held beliefs. We've got to figure out a way to protect that as well.” (March 2014, Meet the Press)


In response to a question about if the U.S. needs to be able to torture  - including the use of waterboarding - suspected terrorists, Rubio said “No, of course not. And we don’t have to in order to defeat terrorists. The way you defeat terrorists is pretty straightforward. It’s difficult to do, but it has to be done. When I’m president of the United States, the best intelligence agencies in the world that right now have been hamstrung. They’re going to be expanded. And the best intelligence agencies in the world are going to find terrorists. And then the best military in the world, which needs to be rebuilt because — because Barack Obama is gutting our military. He’s going to leave us with the smallest Army since the end of World War II, and the smallest Navy in a century, and the smallest Air Force we’ve ever had. We are going to rebuild that military and that military is going to find the terrorists and destroy them. And if we capture any of these terrorists alive, they’re not going to have the right to remain silent. And they’re not going to go to a courtroom in Manhattan. They’re going to go to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and we will find out everything they know and we’ll do so legally.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

"The FBI made this very clear 48 hours ago — the only thing they are asking of Apple is that Apple allow them to use their own systems in the FBI to try to guess the password of the San Bernardino killer. Apple initially came out saying, 'We’re being ordered to create a back door to an encryption device.' That is not accurate. The only thing they’re being asked to do, and the FBI made this very clear about 48 hours ago, is allow us to disable the self- destruct mode that’s in the Apple phone so that we can try to guess using our own systems what the password of this killer was. And I think they should comply with that. If that’s all they’re asking for, they are not asking for Apple to create a back door to encryption...That Apple phone didn’t even belong to the killer. It belonged to the killer’s employee (sic) who have agreed to allow him to try to do this. That is all they’re asking them to do is to disable the self-destruct mode or the auto-erase mode on one phone in the entire world. But Apple doesn’t want to do it because they think it hurts their brand. Well, let me tell you, their brand is not superior to the national security of the United States of America." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

“If ISIS had lobbyists in Washington, they would have spent millions to support the anti-Intelligence law that was just passed [the USA Freedom Act] with the help of some Republicans now running for president...I will not only restore the intelligence programs Obama and Congress have destroyed, I will strengthen them. Because ISIS does not use carrier pigeons to communicate. They use sophisticated encryption and carefully secured networks...It was already difficult to infiltrate them, now it is even harder.” (January 2016, New Hampshire campaign speech)

“Obviously people read this report, they have a right to be concerned this morning about it,” said Rubio on Fox News Wednesday morning. “They have a right to be concerned about the fact that while some leaders around the world are no longer being targeted, one of our strongest allies in the Middle East — Israel — is. I actually think it might be worse than what some people might think, but this is an issue that we’ll keep a close eye on, and the role that I have in the intelligence committee.” (December 2015, Fox News interview)

"If a regular law enforcement agency wants your phone records, all they have to do is issue a subpoena. But now the intelligence agency is not able to quickly gather records and look at them to see who these terrorists are calling. And the terrorists that attacked us in San Bernardino was an American citizen, born and raised in this country. And I bet you we wish we would have had access to five years of his records so we could see who he was working with…" (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"There is nothing that we are allowed to do under [the new USA Freedom Act] that we could not do before. This bill did, however, take away a valuable tool that allowed the National Security Agency and other law — and other intelligence agencies to quickly and rapidly access phone records and match them up with other phone records to see who terrorists have been calling. Because I promise you, the next time there is attack on — an attack on this country, the first thing people are going to want to know is, why didn’t we know about it and why didn’t we stop it? And the answer better not be because we didn’t have access to records or information that would have allowed us to identify these killers before they attacked." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"This is a radical jihadist group that is increasingly sophisticated in its ability, for example, to radicalize American citizens, in its inability to exploit loopholes in our legal immigration system, in its ability to capture and hold territory in the Middle East… We are now at a time when we need more tools, not less tools. And that took we lost, the metadata program, was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“We need to have real-time access to any actionable intelligence that will allow us to save Americans’ lives.” (November 2015, Wall Street Journal)

“It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired. The bigger problem we have is our inability to find out where these places are, because we’ve crippled our intelligence programs, both through unauthorized disclosures by a traitor, in Edward Snowden, or by some of the things this president has put in place with the support even of some from my own party to diminish our intelligence capabilities.” (November 2015, Fox News)

"Some of my Republican colleagues are also vying for the presidency, yet they have spent the last several years helping to gut our defense and eliminate key intelligence programs. All have failed to grasp the threat posed by disengagement from Syria and Iraq. I warned against it from the beginning." (November 2015, Politico Magazine)

"I would rescind limitations on overseas intelligence collection and restore the intelligence gathering authorities Congress drastically limited this year. We don’t want to wake up the day after an attack wishing we’d had these programs in place." (November 2015, Politico Magazine)

On Edward Snowden, "He's a traitor and he should go to jail." (August 2015, Detroit Economic Club)

In speaking about the USA Patriot Act, Sen. Rubio stated, “Given these threats, now is not the time to end this program, which remains essential to our security … We must renew these authorities and provide those we charge with protecting us every tool they need to do so.” (May 2015, USA Today)

“[The perception] that the United States government is listening to your phone calls or going through your bills as a matter of course...That is absolutely and categorically false.” (May 2015, MSNBC)

"We must respond to the valid concerns of Americans, who are alarmed by reports regarding their civil liberties. But we must also distinguish these reasonable concerns from conspiracy theories sparked by Edward Snowden. This man is a traitor who has sought assistance and refuge from some of the world's most notorious violators of liberty and human rights.” (November 2013, AEI speech)

Community Policing

“It is a fact that in the African American community around this country, there has been for a number of years now a growing resentment towards the way law enforcement and the criminal justice system interacts with the community. We do need to face this. It’s a serious problem in this country. There are a lot of different reasons for it. Not all of them have governmental answers.” (August 2015, Fox News interview)

"In many communities in this country, the relationship between minority communities and police and law enforcement agencies are terrible. I personally know someone, an African-American male who happens to be a police officer, who last year was stopped eight times. He never got a ticket. He was never told why he was being stopped. You stop me anytime for no reason, I'm going to be really upset and so would you." (August 2015, Detroit Economic Club)

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use

*The Arab American Institute is leading a campaign to hold public officials accountable for their bigoted rhetoric this election cycle. Join us by signing our Pledge to Combat Bigotry, and use #NoBigotry on social media to hold candidates accountable and thank candidates who stand against it.*

“Well, let me say, I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says cause he says what people wish they could say. The problem is, presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences, here and around the world.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

“Two days ago, I met this extraordinary couple who were on furlough because they are missionaries in Bangladesh. It’s a very tough place to be a missionary. It’s Muslim. And their safety and security very much relies upon friendly Muslims that live along side them, that may not convert, but protect them and certainly look out for them. And their mission field really are Muslims that are looking to convert to Christianity as well. And they tell me that today they have a very hostile environment in which to operate in because the news is coming out that in America, leading political figures are saying that America doesn’t like Muslims. So this is a real impact.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

“There’s no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world. I can also tell you if you go to any national cemetery, especially Arlington, you’re going to see crescent moons there. If you go anywhere in the world you’re going see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims. And they love America. And as far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military. Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America. No matter what their religious background may be. And so I think you can be correct without meaning to be politically correct. We are going to have to work with people of the Muslim faith even as Islam itself faces a serious crisis within it of radicalization.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

“There is — Islam has a major problem on its hands. It has a significant percentage of its adherents, particular in the Sunni faith but also in the Shia, who have been radicalized and are willing to fly planes into a building and kill innocent people. There is no doubt about that. It is also true if you look around the world at the challenges we face, we are going to have to work together with other — with Muslims, who do not — who are not radicals.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

"We cannot be a party who refuses to condemn white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan ... Not only is that wrong, it makes him unelectable. How are we going to grow the party if we nominate someone who doesn't repudiate the Ku Klux Klan?" (February 28, 2016, Virginia campaign speech)

"I do think it’s amazing that on this stage tonight there are two descendants of Cuban origin, and an African American. We are the party of diversity, not the Democratic party." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

"I'm tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this President's done. Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today: He gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims." (February 3, 2016, New Hampshire campaign event)

“Radical Muslims and radical Islam is not just hate talk. It’s hate action. They blow people up. Look what they did in San Bernardino. Look at the attack they inspired in Philadelphia, that the White House still refuses to link to terror, where a guy basically shot a police officer three times.” (New York Times, 1/28/16)

Because Hillary Clinton wouldn't say "radical Islam" during the Second Democratic Debate, Rubio said that's "like saying we weren’t at war with Nazis, because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi Party but weren’t violent themselves." (November 2015, ABC)

“I don’t believe anyone should be disqualified from the presidency because of their denomination and because of their faith. Now, I personally also believe if someone believes in Sharia law they’re not going to get elected to anything, much less the presidency. That’s just a fact.” (September 2015, Fox News)

When commenting on Donald Trump's criticizing of candidates speaking in Spanish, Rubio said, "My grandfather taught me the belief that I am blessed to live [in America] but he taught me that in Spanish...I agree that English is the unifying language of our country, and everyone should learn to speak it. It's important." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

In response to a question regarding his refusal to use the term "anchor baby," Rubio replied, "Well, these are 13 million -- those are human beings. And ultimately, they are people. They are not just statistics. They are human beings with stories." (August 2015, CNBC interview)

In regards to Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R,MN-6) letter requesting an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration of the US government and singles out Palestinian American Huma Abedin (Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) in particular, “I can tell you that I don’t share the feelings that are in that letter. And in fact, I’m very very careful and cautious about ever making accusations like that about anyone.” (July 2012, Salon)

Immigration Reform

“Well, I would add when you talk about the millions of green cards that are coming in, those aren’t actually workers at all. They are just coming in primarily based on family connection. And let me tell you, when my parents came in 1956, I acknowledge that my parents came to the U.S. on a family-based system. The problem is nothing looks like it did 60 years ago. The 21st Century economy simply is not creating enough jobs for people that don’t have skills. When my parents came, they had a very limited education. My father stopped going to school when he was 9 years old because his mother died and he had to work. And he would work the next 70 years of his life and never go back to school. And I’m grateful every day that America welcomed them. But today in the 21st Century, 60 years later, finding jobs when you don’t have skills is very difficult. We need to move to a merit- based system of immigration, not just on H-1B, particularly on green cards. The primary criteria for bringing someone from abroad in the 21st Century should be, what skills do you have? What business are you going to open? What investment are you going to make? What job are you going to be able to do when you arrive in the United States?” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

“When I'm president it will not be dealt with the way it was done in the Senate. It will be done first and foremost by bringing illegal immigration under control and proving it to the American people. And only after that is done can anything else happen. And it will be something the American people support. We'll see what they are willing to support. It's not going to be an executive order and we're not going to ram it down their throats.” (March 3, 2016,  GOP Debate in Michigan)

"It [DACA] will have to end at some moment, and as I said, we will — we will eliminate that executive order. The people that are on it now will not be allowed to renew it, and new applicants will not be allowed to apply to it. And it’s not because we’re not compassionate to the plight of a 2 — someone who came here when they were 2 years old. I understand. I know people that are personally impacted by this. The problem with the executive order is it is unconstitutional. The president doesn’t have the power to do that....DACA is an executive order that is unconstitutional. I will cancel it on my first day in office, which means people who currently hold those permits will not be allowed to renew them when they expire, and new people will not be allowed to apply for them.Now, I am sympathetic to the plight of someone who came here when they were 2 or 3 years old through no fault of their own, but you can’t solve it doing something that is unconstitutional. No matter how sympathetic we may be to a cause, we cannot violate the Constitution of the United States the way this president now does on a regular basis." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

“The entire system of legal immigration must now be reexamined for security first and foremost, with an eye on ISIS. Because they’re recruiting people to enter this country as engineers, posing as doctors, posing as refugees. We know this for a fact. They’ve contacted the trafficking networks in the Western Hemisphere to get people in through the southern border. And they got a killer in San Bernardino in posing as a fiancé.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

"It takes at least 20,000 more additional border agents. It takes completing those 700 miles of fencing. It takes a mandatory e-verify system and a mandatory entry/exit tracking system to prevent overstays. After we have done that, the second thing we have to do is reform and modernize the legal immigration system. And after we have done those two things, I think the American people are going to be reasonable with what you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 or 12 years who hasn’t otherwise violated our laws — because if they’re a criminal they can’t stay. They’ll have to undergo a background check, pay a fine, start paying taxes. And ultimately, they’ll given a work permit and that’s all they’re gonna be allowed to have for at least 10 years. But you can’t get to that third step until you have done the other two things…" (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“Our legal immigration system from now on has to be merit-based. It has to be based on what skills you have, what you can contribute economically, and most important of all, on whether or not you’re coming here to become an American, not just live in America, but be an American.” (October 2015, CNBC GOP Debate)

"In the year 2020, I want to be able to say that we’ve secured our borders first, that we’ve reformed our legal immigration system — (cheers, applause) — so that people come to this country based on what they can contributed to our economy, on the basis of whether they want to become an American, not simply live in American, not whether they have a family member living here." (September 2015, Values Voter Summit)

"First, we must -- we must secure our border, the physical border, with -- with a wall, absolutely. But we also need to have an entry/exit tracking system. 40 percent of the people who come here illegally come legally, and then they overstay the visa. We also need a mandatory e-verify system. After we've done that, step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

"I'm open to doing things that prevent people who deliberately come to the U.S. for purposes of taking advantage of the 14th Amendment, but I'm not in favor of repealing it." (August 2015, Iowa press pool)

“There is only one way forward on this and it will require three steps, and they have to happen in the following sequence. First, we have to prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control….The second step would be to modernize our legal immigration system…In the 21st century, legal immigration must be based on merit. Basically, on whether you are coming to be an American as opposed to simply live in America. Once we’ve done those two things, I believe there is a reasonable way to address the fact that we have 12 million people living in this country illegally. They will have to pass a background check, they will have to pay a fine, they will have to pay taxes, they will have to learn English. In exchange for that what they will get is a work permit that allows them to legally work in the United States and travel, and that is all they will have for an extended period of time.” (August 2015, Voters First Forum)