Marco Rubio Battles Dana 'No Evidence' Bash On CNN -- And Wins!

July 7th, 2024 4:15 PM

Dana Bash Marco Rubio CNN State of the Union 7-7-24 On Sunday's CNN's State of the Union, Sen. Marco Rubio, tipped as one of Donald Trump's possible VP choices, battled host Dana Bash. Rubio came out on top on everything from abortion, to the SCOTUS ruling on presidential immunity, Trump's "revenge," Project 2025, Biden's disastrous record, and speculation about Trump's VP pick. 

Rubio agilely batted away Bash's challenges, and also flashed a relaxed sense of humor, getting in a number of zingers. 


Abortion: When Bash suggested that removing the plank from the Republican platform calling for a national abortion ban, as Trump has proposed, could cost him with anti-abortion grassroots voters, Rubio pointed out that there is only one pro-life candidate in the race--Donald Trump. Rubio also scored by pointing out that it's the Democrats with the radical position, their most recent plank requiring Americans to pay for abortions at any time for any reason, up to the moment of birth.

Bash gamely sat through the entire answer before claiming "I'm not sure that's entirely true," but it is. 

SCOTUS ruling on presidential immunity:  When Bash asked if he was comfortable with the ruling, Rubio pointed out that it's the Biden administration that has used the legal system to go after their political opponents, and that they have tried to bankrupt, silence, and jail Trump.

Rubio noted that when Trump was president, no prominent Democrat was prosecuted. Rubio made the point that Trump has repeatedly said that his "vengeance" will be winning, and restoring and making America great again.  Bash had to concede that in the debate that she moderated, that's what he said, making no threats to go after any political opponents.

Bash also uncorked the "no evidence" line: "Senator, there's no evidence that Joe Biden has gone after political opponents." Rubio shot back: "The evidence is in the headlines every day." From the Jack Smith probes to all the prosecutions of January 6 suspects, Joe Biden's Justice Department is prosecuting Trump and hundreds of his supporters. Journalists pretend you cannot connect Biden to his Justice Department, like they're an ocean apart.

Project 2025: Bash tried to put Rubio on the spot. She played a clip of a leader of the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025 saying "We are in the process of the second American revolution, which will remain bloodless, if the left allows it to be," and asked Rubio if he were comfortable with that. Rubio made the obvious and devastating reply: "Well, he's not running for president, is he? Our candidate is Donald Trump, and he's running on restoring common sense and working-class values." He pointed out that in contrast, many of the lunatic ideas of the far left have actually become the policies of the Biden administration.

Trump's VP Pick:  Bash tried to lure Rubio into spilling whatever he's heard about the process. He was having none of it, saying, "like I would tell you on television today?" Bash had to smile along with Rubio at that one.  Bash then tried to get him to say whether, if he were the pick, he'd change his residence from Florida or give up his Senate seat, since the Constitution prohibits the president and vice president being from the same state. Rubi o batted that away, saying it would be presumptuous for him to speak about it now. 

He also said, "It's comforting for Americans to know that when Kamala Harris becomes their nominee, she can't pick Gavin Newsom.  Because I don't think we can afford as a country to have two Californians with their crazy policies." Zing! 

Last week, Doug Burgum and J.D. Vance, who are generally considered Trump's other most likely VP possibilities, made Sunday show appearances. Each was impressive in his own way.  But Rubio's 13 years in the Senate, and experience in the crucible of running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, have sharpened him in unique ways. 

Bash mentioned that Trump will be holding a rally in Florida this Tuesday -- perhaps his last rally before the convention begins on July 15th.  Could that be a tell on his VP pick?

Here's the transcript.

State of the Union

9:18 am EDT

DANA BASH: Donald Trump is set to be officially nominated at the Republican National Convention next week, where Trump has also said that he will announce his vice presidential pick. Joining me now from Miami is one of the top contenders, Senator Marco Rubio. Thank you so much for being here this morning.

I want to start by looking ahead to just what's going to happen in the next couple of days for the GOP in Milwaukee. And that is, delegates are meeting to adopt the 2024 party platform. For four decades, the Republican party's platform endorsed a national abortion ban. Donald Trump opposes that, as you well know. He thinks it should be left to the states. There are a lot of conservative groups who are not happy about the potential to change the platform. Do you support changing the official party platform to Trump's position, that it should be a state issue?

MARCO RUBIO: Well, I think our platform has to reflect our nominee. And our nominee's position is actually happens to be one grounded in reality. The reality of it is, the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade. And what that basically means is that now it's not states, it's voters at individual states who will get to decide how and to what level they want to restrict abortion, if at all. Some states will have restrictions, some states will not. And so I hope that, that our platform will reflect our nominee. 

I also think it's important to remember, the Democrats, their last platform, basically endorsed abortion, paid for by taxpayers, at anytime without any restrictions. So I think really the question here is whether they are going to have a radical plank of their platform that basically requires Americans to pay for abortions at any any time for any reason up until the moment of birth. That was their platform four years ago, let's see what it looks like now when they meet again.

BASH: I'm not sure that's entirely true, but I want to focus if I may on what your party --

RUBIO: Oh, it is.

BASH: -- is doing.  And something that the head of the Susan B. Anthony group told me this past week, she and others, Tony Perkins as well, have said that they are concerned that removing the federal ban from the platform will depress enthusiasm for Donald Trump among core, anti-abortion grassroots voters. Does that worry you?

RUBIO: Not really, because I don't think there's much of an option here. It looks like no matter who the Democrats nominate. It looks like maybe Kamala Harris would be the most liberal presidential candidate in American history. Or a continuation of whoever's running the White House, now with Joe Biden as its figurehead. The issue is that they are going to be radical. There's only one pro-life candidate in this race, and it's Donald Trump. 

I think his position on this has been that, the reality. And that is, you can't you can't pass a federal law now, even if we wanted to. You couldn't pass one. But states, individ -- not states, voters in individual states now have the ability to influence what abortion laws look like in their state. And they can have that debate about how restrictive, to what level, what exceptions and so forth. 

You couldn't even have that debate before the Supreme Court opened that up. All the Supreme Court ruled was that this was a political issue. That this was an issue that now voters would be able to decide via the people they voted for or voted against at the state level. And that's the reality.

BASH: Let me ask you about the Supreme Court and a huge ruling that they issued on Monday, that Donald Trump has broad immunity for official acts related to January 6, the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

When you voted to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial for January 6, you said, quote, let history and if necessary, the courts, judge the events of the past. Well, this ruling by the highest court in the land precludes lower courts from doing what you suggested, at least with some actions like conversations with the Justice Department. Are you comfortable with that?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I'm uncomfortable with the fact now, that we have a president who targets political opponents. That's what's happened under Joe Biden. When Donald Trump was president, I can't think of a single prominent Democrat who was chased around, persecuted, prosecuted.

All of the, it's funny to me to read these people, and hear these people out there, warning about all the horrible things they ridiculously claim Donald Trump is going to do if he becomes president again. They're the ones that have been going after their political opponents. Donald Trump has been the one that's been very clear that his vengeance is going to be by winning, and making America great again, not going after his political opponents. He said that in your debate. They're the ones who have gone after political opponents.

BASH: Senator, there's no evidence that Joe Biden has gone after political opponents. His Justice Department --

RUBIO: The evidence is in the headlines every day. 

. . . 

I understand why this has become topical, why we now have to discuss this issue. Because it is clear that we have reached an era where there are people in American politics who believe that our courts are now a weapon that can be used against their political opponents. 

You look at what their efforts on what they've done in the courts to persecute and prosecute Donald Trump. They've tried to bankrupt him. They've tried to silence him. They've tried to jail him.  And they've gone after his allies every single day. And some of these are ridiculous charges.

BASH: Senator, Senator, Donald Trump has said --

RUBIO: -- Yes

BASH: -- that he would go after Joe Biden. That he would go after members of the Biden family. That's never something that we've heard. That's never something that we've heard Joe Biden say.

RUBIO: Donald Trump has said that his, no, he hasn't. I watched the debate. You guys did a great job. I watched it, and he was asked and he said, my vengeance will be winning and restoring America, making America great again. He did not say, I'm going to go after, I'm going to put them in jail.

BASH: Not at the debate, but he has said it elsewhere. Not at the debate. You're right. He said it elsewhere.

RUBIO: He has repeatedly said, he has repeatedly said that his revenge will be to make America great again, to undo all their bad public policies. 

BASH: Well, let ask you --

RUBIO: And when he was president for four years, he didn't go after Hillary Clinton. He didn't go after Joe Biden. He didn't go after Barack Obama, he didn't go after any of the -- We didn't see from him what we're seeing now.

BASH: You're telling me right now that a second Trump administration would not go after any Democrats, any of his political opponents. Full stop. You have confidence that that wouldn't happen.

RUBIO: Yeah! He was president before and he didn't do it then. He's already said that he wouldn't do that. He will be too busy undoing all the damage of this disastrous presidency.

. . . 

BASH: Speaking of what a Donald Trump next White House would do, there is a conservative effort. It's called Project 2025, and it includes several former Trump administration officials. 

They are arguing, and they have in their platform, if you will, to purge thousands of civilians, excuse me, purge thousands of civil servants from federal agencies, vastly expand the power of the presidency.

And I want you to listen to what one of the leaders of Project 2025 said this week.

KEVIN ROBERTS: We are in the process of the second American revolution, which will remain bloodless, if the left allows it to be.

BASH:  Are you comfortable with that?

RUBIO: Well, he's not running for president, is he?

I mean, our candidate's Donald Trump. I didn't say [hear] Donald Trump say that. Donald Trump's running on common sense, on restoring common sense versus the lunacy of the last four years in the far left, and the shadow government that now is running our country with Joe Biden as its figurehead. That's what he's running against. 

Think tanks do think tank stuff. They come up with ideas, they say things. I look, I like Heritage Foundation. I agree with some of the things they stand for. But there's a bunch of scholars and people that turn around and work on different projects. 

But our candidate for president is Donald Trump. And Donald Trump is running on restoring common sense, working-class values, and making our decisions on the basis of that. Not on ideological lunacy, which is what we've seen over the last four years under Joe Biden.

BASH: Is that, is that what Project 2025 is, is it ideological lunacy?

RUBIO: No, I think it's the work of a think tank, of a center-right think tank. And that's what think tanks do. 

I can assure you I don't have them with me today, but I've seen plenty of write-ups, frankly, not just from left-wing think tanks, but from columnists and others who are opinion writers who have actually come up with crazy ideas that are now the policies of the United States under Joe Biden. Things like, I don't know, letting people into our country and releasing them because there's no danger. Now we see that there is danger. Things like attacking American energy. And as a result, now the cost of living for all Americans has gone up.

Those are radical ideas that began in the faculty clubs and in the think tanks of the far left that are now the policy and the laws of the United States in 2024 yeah.

BASH: Yeah. Just for the record, the numbers at the border are the lowest now, since 2021. But I want to ask the question, right now --

RUBIO: Ten million people are in our country illegally. They're murdering people every day.

BASH: Just eight days from now, the Republican convention begins. Donald Trump is expected to announce his Vice President. He's holding a rally in Florida on Tuesday. What's the latest that you have heard? Any meetings, any conversations? 

RUBIO: Well, like I would tell you on television today --

BASH: Why not [both smile]?

RUBIO: Look, I haven't heard heard anything. I know nothing. You probably know more than I do about it. 

. . . 

BASH: The Constitution says that presidential electors cannot vote for a president and a vice president who are both from their state. You and Donald Trump are both residents of Florida. If you're chosen to be his running mate, are you willing to move to another state or resign your Senate seat?

RUBIO: Well, I'm not, that's presumptuous. I don't know, I have no idea who he's going to pick, and those, like I said, we will confront those issues when they come. 

But I think it's comforting for Americans to know that when Kamala Harris becomes their nominee, she can't pick Gavin Newsom. Because I don't think we can afford as a country to have two Californians with their crazy policies become the law of the land.

BASH: Senator, you haven't thought about this at all? You haven't at all had any discussions with your family, with your advisors on the what-if? Do I have to leave Florida? Do I have to resign my Senate seat? That's not something you've even considered? 

RUBIO: I think when, I think it's presumptuous to talk about any of those things in public, because the president hasn't made, President Trump hasn't made those decisions.

When he makes those decisions, no matter who we picks, you know, then, then those conversations will happen, regarding whoever he picks. But we're not there yet. But we will be soon, one way or the other. 

BASH: I just want to note for the record, you used the word public. You don't want to have the discussions in public. Thank you so much. 

RUBIO: Well, because they're not mine to have. They belong to the campaign and they belong to the president, and I don't know who he's going to pick. But he'll pick somebody good. I'm sure of that.