Tea Party conservatives have been hammering Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) this week as the Senate hammers out its own version of the immigration bill he helped craft.
Amnesty and a path to citizenship have been points of outrage among conservatives who believe only immigrants who’ve legally entered the U.S. should have a shot at attaining to the rights and privileges of American citizenship. Rubio, after demonstrating he agreed with that view in 2010, has shifted his stance so dramatically that many conservatives lament he’s not the same candidate they voted for.
So, on Wednesday, Rubio stood before the Senate and directly addressed his critics, appealing to them to see his amity with the Senate’s Gang of Eight as the lesser of two evils. The Daily Caller summarized the pith of his remarks:
“I have received numerous emails and calls from conservatives and Tea Party activists. Their opinions and concerns really matter to me because they stood with me during my election. To hear the worry, anxiety and growing anger in the voices of so many people who helped me get elected to the Senate, who I agree with on virtually every other issue, has been a real trial for me,” he said.
But he said he told them that he would go to Washington to “fight to stop what is bad for America,” and that what we have now is, in fact, hurting America. ”I simply wasn’t going to leave it to Democrats alone to try to figure out how to fix it.”
“I got involved because I knew that if conservatives didn’t get involved in shaping this legislation, it would not have any border security reforms our nation desperately needs,” Rubio said.
Rubio asked tea party conservatives who are upset to understand that he honestly believes “it is the right thing for our country.”
And he assured them he would continue to fight alongside them for “real tax reform, lowering the debt, balancing our budget, reducing regulations, rolling back job-killing environmental policies and repealing the disaster of Obamacare,” and to defend “the sanctity of life and traditional marriage.”
If you’re interested in knowing how that played with nonplussed conservatives, head on over to the Daily Caller’s original story and browse the reader comments.