Seven years ago, Marco Rubio was sounding the alarm to warn America that Donald Trump couldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes. But today, in the wake of Trump being indicted for taking and mishandling secret CIA, NSA, and Defense Department documents, Rubio is screaming at us all for even imagining Trump should be held responsible.
Rubio also appeared on Fox on Tuesday to argue that we don’t actually know if Trump has caused damage by hoarding national security secrets.
It’s notable that Rubio has such strong words about Trump being held responsible, given that just a few years ago, he warned about this very misdeed.
“We’re about to turn over … the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual, and the conservative movement to someone who has spent a career sticking it to working people.… I would much more prefer not to turn the party over to a con artist like Donald Trump,” Rubio said in February 2016.
Rubio even doubled down on his mistrust weeks before Election Day in 2016. “I have deep reservations about the nominee of my party,” Rubio said at a Florida Senate debate.
Meanwhile, in July 2016, Rubio tweeted that Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified emails “DQ’d [her] from being Commander in Chief.” As a reminder, Clinton’s mishandling involved using a private email server for official communications. But under the Espionage Act, which Trump is charged under, the mishandling of national security documents must be willful. There has been scant evidence of her actively using the server for nefarious purposes, and James Comey, then the Republican head of the FBI, admitted as much. Meanwhile, Trump’s indictment exhibits the former president being actively involved in taking the secret documents out of the White House and flaunting them to numerous individuals without security clearance.
In September 2020, at an Intelligence Committee hearing, Rubio condemned the irresponsible declassification of classified information, saying it “endangers lives and our national security.”
Nevertheless, Rubio’s sanctimoniousness continues when it comes to Trump. His new argument? The indictment—not the crime, nor the relentless and hollow defenses of the crime—is “putting our country … in a really dangerous place.”