Marco Rubio repeatedly accused Ted Cruz of lying in a Sunday morning interview
Rubio says he opposes a Senate vote on any Supreme Court nominee during President Barack Obama's last year
“There’s no other way to describe that – it’s a lie. When you say something that’s not true, it’s called a lie. That’s the definition of it,” Rubio said Sunday in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“On this campaign, he is saying things that are not true, and he’s saying it repeatedly, and he knows they’re not true,” Rubio said.
Rubio unloaded on Cruz just days ahead of South Carolina’s Republican primary, a key battle that could winnow the field of six GOP presidential contenders.
His verbal assault came the morning after the two had one of the most memorable exchanges of Saturday night’s debate hosted by CBS, when Cruz attacked comments Rubio had made on Univision in Spanish about immigration.
Rubio shot back that Cruz doesn’t even speak Spanish – and Cruz responded in Spanish, challenging Rubio to continue their exchange in the language.
Asked if Rubio was calling Cruz’s Latino status into question, Rubio responded: “No, I was calling into question whether he even knows what I’m saying … He has no idea. He’s just going off what other people are telling him, and it’s false. It’s just not true.”
He invoked a long list of what he called Cruz’s false characterizations of his record – as well as Cruz’s campaign’s tactics portraying rival Ben Carson as dropping out of the race as Iowa’s caucus-goers were still voting.
“The bottom line is, there’s been this disturbing pattern the last couple of weeks of Ted Cruz saying things that are not true. Just in the last week, he’s lied about my record on marriage. He’s lied about my record on Planned Parenthood. Of course he lied about Ben Carson in Iowa. Last night Donald Trump says he’s issuing robocalls, doing the same thing to him. And then he also isn’t telling the truth about immigration,” Rubio said.
The Florida senator also accused Cruz of misrepresenting himself on immigration.
“I mean, he goes around portraying himself as this purist – you know, Ted Cruz, the purist on immigration. But I was there two, three years ago, when he was passionately arguing at the committee that we needed to pass immigration reform and needed to bring people out of the shadows,” Rubio said.
He added: “I think this pattern of saying things that aren’t true has become very disturbing when it comes to Ted Cruz’s campaign.”
During the interview, Rubio also said he supports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s position that the chamber won’t consider a nomination President Barack Obama submits to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was died Saturday.
“I don’t think the Senate’s going to move on it, and I agree with that decision,” Rubio said.
He said it’s been 80 years since a Supreme Court choice was nominated and confirmed in the year of a presidential election. Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed on February 3, 1988, but that was after the nomination of Robert Bork was rejected.
“There’s a reason for that, and the reason is that the next president should have a chance to fill that void, and not someone who’s never going to answer to the electorate again,” Rubio said.
He added: “Let’s let the voters weigh in in November, and then we’ll have an appointment.”