The co-hosts of CBS This Morning on Friday ganged up on Marco Rubio and pushed the idea that the Senator should just give up opposing Barack Obama's deal with Iran. Co-host Norah O'Donnell lectured, "You heard Secretary Kerry say it's a fantasy to think you can just bomb away Iran's knowledge."
She later reminded, "Senator, the deal now has the unanimous support of the UN Security Council. You heard the Saudi foreign minister as well say that they support this deal." O'Donnell pestered Rubio as to whether he had enough votes to override a presidential veto.
Guest co-host Christine Johnson picked up the theme and demanded, "As Norah mentioned, this does have the unanimous support of the UN." Quoting Democratic talking points, she continued, "Secretary Kerry said that if we walk away from this, from our partners, we're basically on our own and we'll have squandered our best chance to stop Iran."
The senator and presidential candidate retorted, "Well, first of all, I don't think our foreign policy should be set by the United Nations."
Making Rubio the unreasonable one, Anthony Mason quizzed, "Senator, is there any realistic deal with Iran that you would have supported?"
In contrast, on October 28, 2014, O'Donnell talked to liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren. She offered this easy question: "What's going to happen if Republicans take control?" The co-host admitted, "I guess that was a softball of a question, wasn’t it?"
A transcript of the July 24 CBS This Morning segment is below:
NORAH O'DONNELL: The nuclear deal with Iran faced tough scrutiny from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Thursday. Secretary of State John Kerry defended the agreement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He faced heavy criticism from the panel's Republicans. Kerry says it's a, quote, "fantasy" to think the U.S. failed to hold out for a better deal. He had a particularly heated exchange with Republican Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio. Rubio says the next President can scrap the deal.
JOHN KERRY: I listened to a long list of your objections here about it. But there's no alternative that you or anybody else has proposed as to what –
MARCO RUBIO: I sure have, Secretary Kerry.
KERRY: And I'm confident the next president of the United States will have enough common sense that if this is being applied properly, if it's being implemented fully, they're not going to just arbitrarily end it.
O'DONNELL: Senator Marco Rubio is with us from Capitol Hill. Senator, good morning.
RUBIO: Good morning.
O'DONNELL: I want to ask you about that. You heard Secretary Kerry say it's a fantasy to think you can just bomb away Iran's knowledge. What is, specifically, your alternative?
RUBIO: Well, as I've talked about, first of all, the fantasy is believing they're going to even live to the accord. This is a country that has a long history, at least the leaders of Iran do, of violating agreements and of always having a secret nuclear program. They have two secret sites that neither the Israelis or U.S. knew about for years after they had after they had started. I believe that we should have kept these sanctions in place not only for the U.S. perspective, but increased them, along with keeping together the global coalition. What unraveled the global coalition in those sanctions is when we went in to these negotiations without the pre-condition that in order to move forward, Iran had to abandon its long-range missiles and that Iran had to abandon enrichment capability. Once we gave those things away, it began to unravel everything. Now, moving forward, the only option we have is to reimpose the American sanctions and give Iran a very clear choice: You can have an economy or you can have a weapons program. But you will not be able to have both.
O'DONNELL: Senator, the deal now has the unanimous support of the UN Security Council. You heard the Saudi foreign minister as well say that they support this deal. Will Congress have the votes to override a presidential veto?
RUBIO: Well, it will all depends on how many Democrats join us. There's no doubt the majority of members of Congress are going to vote against this agreement, I believe. The question is whether enough Democrats will join in this effort. Otherwise, the President will veto whatever we do and it will go into place. But as I made clear yesterday and it's important for people around the world to understand, is that this is a deal with the Obama administration. It is not a treaty. It's not binding on the next President and I anticipate that if the next president of the United states may well– And if it's me, I will reimpose the American sanctions that are in the law right now.
ANTHONY MASON: Senator, is there any realistic deal with Iran that you would have supported?
RUBIO: Well, yeah. But it would have had to be one, for example, that abandoned the long-range missiles. Why are they building a long missiles if they have no interest in a nuclear weapons? There's no reason for an ICBM other than to put a nuclear warhead on it. The second problem is Iran is going to get billions of dollars in sanctions and everything in their history means they'll use to sponsor terrorism around the world. And that means their proxies in Hezbollah, their proxies in the Shia militias inside of Iraq, their proxies in the 14th of February Movement Bahrain, their proxies with the Houthis in Yemen. This is a country that – whose leadership tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador right here in Washington D.C., just a handful of years ago.
CHRISTINE JOHNSON: Senator, as Norah mentioned, this does have the unanimous support of the UN and Secretary Kerry said that if we walk away from this, from our partners, we're basically on our own and we'll have squandered our best chance to stop Iran.
RUBIO: Well, first of all, I don't think our foreign policy should be set by the United Nations or by unanimous of anything. The United States has to act on its own national security interest. Second of all, it had the unanimous support of many of our allies, because we led them there, because this administration took them in that direction. We know for a fact that the French wanted a deal stronger than the one that came out. They may be willing to support it, but they have significant concerns about the issues I pointed to. And our most important ally in the Middle East, the state of, Israel, the only pro-American, free-enterprise democracy, they're fervently against this deal because they understand the true nature of who we are dealing with. And you mentioned the Saudis for a moment. The Saudis are using diplomatic language in discussing this. They have been very up-front. Whatever Iran has, they are going to have, which means they will now pursue enrichment capability, a long range rocket capability and if Iran ever moves towards a weapon, a weapon of their own in Saudi Arabia.
O'DONNELL: Senator, can I ask you about some of the news overnight that two inspector generals have now sought a criminal inquiry into the Clinton e-mail account. What's your reaction to that?
RUBIO: Well, I don't know a lot about that story. Obviously, that needs to be taken seriously, those recommendations. I have deep concerns about the use of those e-mails because they contained sensitive information of the United States government and the way we do business on the diplomatic front that she exposed to foreign agents by using a non-government server. But even more concerning is the constant drama that surrounds anything Clinton. In essence, it's not just now It's not just the e-mails. It's just a long string of things that every time they are involved, there's something going on with deception or keeping things from the public eye or some other drama. And we just really, as a nation, cannot afford four or eight years of that.
MASON: Senator, Donald Trump is leading some of the latest GOP polls and dominating the conversation right now in the Republican Party. Rick Perry called him a cancer on conservatism. Do you think he's a problem for your party at this point?
RUBIO: Not long term. Donald Trump's not going to be the nominee of the Republican Party. These happen in these presidential races. These polls swing up and down. I've been higher than I've been today. I've been lower than I am now. These polls are basically measuring who people are hearing about in the news and Donald Trump is benefitting from that. I strongly believe that, not just the next nominee, but the only way Republicans are going to win the presidency is by offering an optimistic, but realistic vision of the 21st century with a real plan of how we can benefit from all the globalization that's changing the nature of our economy, from the technological advances that have changed the nature of work and also about playing a proper role in the world in terms of leading the free people of this planet to confront global challenges.
MASON: Senator, thank you very much for joining us this morning. We appreciate you being with us.