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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio: 'Building a wall is a phrase'

30

November

Sen. Marco Rubio says he’s eager to get to work on Donald Trump’s agenda of ditching Obamacare and increasing border security, though Rubio implied that Trump’s wall was a rhetorical device.

“Building a wall is a phrase that is about securing the border and enforcing our immigration laws. And I think that's something we need to move on first,” Rubio said Tuesday night in an interview with Sean Hannity. “I've -- I've said now for a long time that it is the key that unlocks the door to be able to do anything else on immigration.”

Rubio’s comments reflect what other Republicans on Capitol Hill have said as questions have come up about the cost and feasibility of a wall, at least as Trump described it.

Rubio said he generally agreed with Trump’s domestic agenda but carefully noted potential differences on foreign policy. “We'll see how that develops. He's had -- as I said, he's never held public office before, so he said some things on the campaign trail. We'll see how that translates to foreign policy,” Rubio said.

What are those concerns, Hannity asked, nothing Trump’s pledge to get  “rid of” the Iranian deal, “identify radical Islamists” and stay away from “foreign entanglements” like Iraq.

Rubio: “Well, a couple points. I'm not in favor of entanglements. I am in favor of engagement. I do think the world is a better place when America is involved in the world in a way that furthers are national security interests. Those are broad pronouncements on the campaign trail. It's a big world. There are a lot of issues on foreign policy that were not discussed on the campaign.

“I can't standing here say here's one area in the world where I think we're going to have a conflict with the president-elect. I'm saying it's possible. It happened under other presidencies in the past. But as I said, you talked about broad pronouncements in general. I agree we want to defeat radical Islam. We want to confront it and we want to defeat it. As commander in chief he's going to have a significant amount of leeway to conduct that and make it happen.

“There may be some differences of opinion on issues. I don't have one to point to you right now, but if there is then we'll do our role, which is the Senate is independent of the presidency. And it's our job, no matter who the president is, if they do something that you don't agree with to stand up to that. But I'm not prepared that do that now because, as I said, nothing is moving on that, and I think he's still trying to formulate the specifics of a lot of these things.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:24pm]

    

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