Speaking at a meeting with pastors last week in Iowa, Senator Marco Rubio was asked about his relationship to mega-donor — and same-sex marriage supporter — Paul Singer and whether socially conservative voters could trust Rubio to hold firm on life, marriage, and religious liberty. You can watch and read Rubio’s response below, courtesy of “The Brody File” and CBN News:
PASTOR: What gives me pause is a guy like Paul Singer who has endorsed you. We’ve heard Donald Trump say, ‘well, when I give them money, they do what I say.’ How do we know — as an evangelical who’s deeply concerned about life, religious liberty and marriage in particular, all of those, how do I know that he’s not going to direct you, that he’s not going to sway a large amount of influence over you because he has fought vehemently for same-sex marriage and now he’s backing you? What is it that he sees in you that he doesn’t see in somebody else?
MARCO RUBIO: Well, a couple points. First of all, virtually every candidate running for president has sought his help in this campaign. He supported me in 2010, he supported Senator Cruz in 2012, he supported Mike Lee in Utah, he supported a lot of people running for president. That’s the first.
The second thing I would say — and this is honest, this is the truth. Mr. Singer has never ever tried to change my mind or deeply discuss with me the issue. He knows where I stand on the issue. He’s quite frankly largely motivated in politics not so much by the marriage issue — he feels strongly about that issue and is on record as such — but the thing that actually motivates him in politics is his association with the Federalist Society, his belief in federalism, and also his support of the state of Israel. To the extent that I’ve discussed issues with him, those are largely the ones.
The third point I would make is I have always been very clear about where I stand on issues. In fact, I put it in writing. I have the most detailed public policy documents of any candidate for president. And I also have one of the longest records on public policy of any candidate for president. I have 8 ½ years in the state legislature, including two years as speaker of the Florida House. And I challenge anyone to find a single instance in my record where I have either voted for or advocated for policies that you would find contrary to anything that I’ve said to you tonight. I have 4 ½ years in the United States Senate, by which my vote record is as conservative as anybody else that’s running for president, especially on the issues we’ve discussed here tonight.
The third point is, because my policies are in writing and specific, when someone cooperates with my campaign, they are buying into my agenda. I am not buying into their agenda, and that has been very clear in my history. And that is also why I have the support of Mr. Frank VanderSloot, who is just as wealthy as Mr. Singer, and yet has been someone that has been actively involved in the other side of that debate, whether it was in the ballot initiative in California, or in issues in his home state of Idaho.
And my fourth point is, if I were to change my position on those issues that I don’t consider political issues — the definition of marriage is a legal issue, but the issue of life to me is not a political issue. It’s a human rights issue. If I were to change my position on those issues or even waver on them, I would now be in direct conflict with my church, and I would be in direct conflict with what I teach my children. And at that point, I can tell you then I’ve lost the essence of who I am. So that’s just not going to happen. I feel strongly about those issues especially on the issue of life. That, for me, has never been a political issue. I don’t discuss it as a political issue. I recognize that it puts two rights in conflict. It puts the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body in conflict with the right of a person to live. But it goes back to what I discussed with you earlier in the order of rights. Without life, there is no liberty.
PASTOR: The exchange that you had with that CNN reporter was amazing.
RUBIO: Well, and again — Mr. Singer saw that interview as well. And others as well. People buy into my agenda. I don’t buy into theirs. But I must tell you, in the Republican Party, me and other candidates are going to have donors that disagree with us on some issues and that ain’t the only one, but at the end of the day, people buy into our agenda, I don’t buy into theirs. I have never changed a political position for a campaign donor because the truth of the matter is, to be completely blunt, there’s money on both sides of every issue and so if that is really what motivated someone to do it, you’d raise money either way. People buy into my agenda. And I respect people who disagree with me. People have a right to be wrong! No, just kidding. I respect people who disagree with me, but they don’t set my agenda for me. Never have and never will.
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for the American Principles Project and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.