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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama: Rubio was 'all over the map' on Syria



President Obama, in an extensive interview with New York Magazine, criticized Sen. Marco Rubio for unevenness on Syria.

Rubio in 2013 called for a tough approach against Syria but then voted against air strikes. In a speech explaining his vote, Rubio said he was never for military engagement. He did call for arming rebels.

Here is Obama:

You take the case of Syria, which has been chewed over a lot. But it continues to puzzle me, the degree to which people seem to forget that we actually got the chemical weapons out of Syria. The notion seems to be that, “Well, you should have blown something up, even if that didn’t mean that you got chemical weapons out.” There continues to be, I think, a lack of examination of the fact that my decision was not to let Assad do whatever he wanted. My decision was to see if we could broker a deal without a strike to get those chemical weapons out, and to go to Congress to ask for authorization, because nowhere has Congress been more incoherent than when it comes to the powers I have.

You had people, I think, like Marco Rubio, who was complaining about us not doing anything, and when I said, “I’m gonna present to Congress,” suddenly he said, “Well, I’m gonna vote against it.” Maybe it was Ted Cruz. Maybe both. They’re all over the map. The primary principle—and this is not true for all of them, but for many of them—was “Just make sure that we don’t get blamed for whatever decision you make.”

Full interview here.

UPDATE: Rubio's team responds by pointing to his remarks at one of the presidential debates. Donald Trump was questioned if Rubio and other senators bore some responsibility for the refugee crisis. "I will tell you we have zero responsibility, because let's remember what the president said. He said the attack he would conduct would be a pinprick,'

Rubio replied. "Well, the United States military was not build to conduct pinprick attacks. If the United States military is going to be engaged by a commander- in-chief, it should only be engaged in an endeavor to win. And we're not going to authorize use of force if you're not put in a position where they can win. "

[Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2016 1:10pm]


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