Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio issued a bizarre warning that election boxes could be blown up as he clashed with Democratic opponent Rep. Val Demings, on abortion and guns in Tuesday night’s debate in the Florida Senate.
“There is a danger in dropboxes. People need to think about it,” Rubio said. “Imagine somebody decides, ‘Oh, there’s a drop box, I’m just going to put an explosive in it and blow it up and burn all those ballots.’ And now those votes don’t count at all.’
Demings, an Orlando congressman and the city’s former police chief, had called on Rubio and said he “supports the suppression of voting rights,” pointing out that Florida would reduce the number of drop boxes where voters can submit their votes.
‘Why do that? Especially in certain areas, Senator? It’s your job to make sure everyone votes,” Demings said on the Palm Beach County podium.
Rubio had argued that the Democrat-backed federal voting rights legislation was overzealous.
“It’s never been easier to vote,” the Florida Republican said. “In Florida, you can now vote by mail for any reason. For example, you can vote 10 days before the election, you can vote on election day.’
He added that the comparison to the ‘Jim Crow era’, when people were killed trying to vote, was unfair.
“I’ve been a Spanish man all my life,” he added. “I’m a minority – I’ve never felt that producing an ID compromises my voting rights.” At another point, he said of Demings, “You have to ask for ID to get near her.”
He protested against drop boxes, asking why “suddenly a drop box is the standard by which we judge whether people are allowed to vote or not.”
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio (left) issued a bizarre warning that election boxes could be blown up as he collided with Democratic opponent, Rep. Val Demings (right), on abortion and guns in Tuesday night’s Florida Senate debate
Republican Senator Marco Rubio (left) greets Rep. Val Demings (right), his Democratic challenger, ahead of their Tuesday night Senate debate in Palm Beach County, Florida
sen. Marco Rubio (right) kisses his wife Jeanette Christina Dousdebes Rubio (left) before Tuesday’s debate in the Florida Senate in Palm Beach County
Rubio’s Argument Against Dropbox went viral quicklybut other parts of the debate produced more heat.
Demings slammed Rubio early on after criticizing Democrats’ pandemic aid spending, saying it was driving today’s high inflation.
“Of course the senator, who has never done anything but his mouth, would know nothing about helping people and being there for people when they’re in trouble,” Demings said.
Rubio hit back, saying the Democrats were “at home, in their pajamas, having Zoom conversations,” while the Republicans in the Capitol worked on things like the Paycheck Protection Program.
Against Demings, Rubio accused her of never taking a bill as a sponsor.
“I’m really disappointed in you, Marco Rubio, because I think there was a time when you didn’t lie to win,” Demings replied, pointing to a law she helped get passed that provides law enforcement with mental health programs. . she said.
“There isn’t a single federal law on the books that she sponsored and passed. Not one. I think she mentioned two post offices,” Rubio retorted.
Demings then went back to Rubio.
“The senator has clearly resorted to lying, cheating and trying to steal,” she said, before pointing out the benefits of naming post offices. ‘I think honoring a police officer who died on the job is everything, Senator.’
Rubio objected, saying he didn’t say it didn’t matter. “I said this is all she did.”
“How gullible do you think the voters are in Florida, sir,” Demings shouted, using the line several times during the hour-long event.
On abortion, Rubio was asked if he would vote for a federal 15-week ban with no exceptions, saying he didn’t think exceptions should be included in abortion laws in the past.
Rubio said he was “100 percent pro-life” but said every abortion law he voted for had exceptions “because that’s what can pass and that’s what the majority of people support.”
Exceptions to the abortion ban are generally for rape, incest and maternal life.
“The extremist on abortion in this campaign is Congressman Demings,” he claimed.
Demings said Rubio was “clear” he did not support exceptions.
“As a police detective investigating rape and incest cases, not a senator, I don’t think it’s okay for a girl to be raped and have to carry her rapist’s sperm,” Demings said. “No, I don’t think it’s okay for you to make decisions for women and girls.”
Demings said decisions about abortion should be between “the woman, her family, her doctor and her faith.” And when Rubio suggested that she support abortion until birth, he made the mother’s life an “afterthought.”
The two lawmakers also struggled over gun control.
“How long do you watch people in first grade, fourth grade, high school, college, church, synagogue, grocery store, movie theater, mall, and nightclub get shot and do nothing?” Demings asked Rubio.
The Republican said he was against some gun laws because he said they would be ineffective.
‘DGiving them the right to buy it won’t stop them from doing that,” Rubio said at one point, when asked if he was in favor of raising the sales age for some firearms.
“What makes no sense is that we’re going to pass laws that only law-abiding people will follow,” he also said.
Both candidates were also asked whether they would abide by the election results.
Demings never gave a clear answer, instead saying that she had taken an oath as a police officer.
“I swore I would protect and serve the Constitution. Not just for people who looked like me, or the richest of the rich, but for all people,” Demings said.
When it was Rubio’s turn, he said he has “never denied an election.”
“I’m not like Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who denied her election,” he said, laughing at the crowd.
He made no mention of former President Donald Trump and his false claims about voter fraud.
When asked again that he would support the results of the 2022 elections, Rubio replied in the affirmative.
“Obviously because I’m going to win, I’m looking forward to supporting that,” he said. “But yes, whatever the outcome, I will support it because Florida has good laws,” he confirmed.