Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid has added his voice to a chorus of critics who say Florida Sen. Marco Rubio should resign his seat and let someone who isn’t campaigning for president get a crack at it.
“Why shouldn’t he [resign]? He hates the Senate,” Reid said in an interview with POLITICO on Thursday. “Why should the taxpayers of this country and people of Florida put up with having only one senator? Doesn’t seem fair to me.”
His comments came after Rubio was forced to address the question of his no-show votes in the Senate during Wednesday night’s debate. Earlier in the week, the Sun Sentinel in Florida said Rubio had missed a third of the votes in the Senate while running for president. “You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems,” the editorial said. “You are ripping us off, Senator.”
Rubio responded by calling it a “double standard” because his critics did not call out Democrats like then-Sen. John Kerry for missing Senate business when he ran for president in 2004.
After former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush tried to redirect the discussion, saying to Rubio, “there are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck in Florida, as well. They are looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day,” Rubio fired back, reminding Bush of his praise for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008.
“Jeb, I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record. The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”
Rubio was given accolades for his response, but the drumbeat hasn’t died down if Reid’s comments are any indication. Reid dismissed Rubio as a “non-entity” in the Senate.
“For Marco Rubio here to dump on the Senate, this institution established by our founding fathers, he should be ashamed of himself,” Reid said. “And the people of Florida, why they put up with it, I don’t know. They damn sure aren’t getting their money’s worth.”
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant dismissed Reid's comments. “I must have forgotten Harry Reid similarly calling on Barack Obama to resign the Senate when he missed even more votes to run for president.”
“It's obvious that Democrat leaders are very worried that Marco will beat [Hillary] Clinton next year,” he added.