Marco Rubio defends police against hostile rhetoric

Story highlights

  • Marco Rubio defended police on Tuesday from what he says is increasingly hostile language
  • "The overwhelming and vast majority of law enforcement officers in this country are just trying to do their jobs," Rubio said

Washington (CNN)Florida Sen. Marco Rubio defended police on Tuesday from what he says is increasingly hostile language pushed by groups who say they are working to end police brutality.

The presidential candidate said that the potential targeting of communities of color by law enforcement is indeed a "legitimate issue," but suggested that efforts by groups like Black Lives Matter -- though he didn't say their name -- have resulted in the targeting of police.
"The overwhelming and vast majority of law enforcement officers in this country are just trying to do their jobs," Rubio told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. "It is troubling that there are groups and rhetoric out there now that is encouraging people to demonize law enforcement, to target law enforcement or in some cases, quite frankly, to misrepresent what law enforcement is trying to do."
    "It's unfortunate that the White House does not acknowledge that enough," Rubio said.
    Earlier on Tuesday, President Barack Obama warned against cherry picking data to advance theories on crime, saying a hard look at available evidence is required as the country's leaders grapple with incidents of violence.
    "We do have to stick with the facts. What we can't do is cherry pick data or use anecdotal evidence to drive policy or to feed political agendas," Obama said in Chicago at the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
    The President's comments follow a suggestion from FBI Director James Comey last week that some police feel restrained in the aftermath of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and that this change among officers could partly be why crime rates have spiked in some cities.