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White House

Rubio’s Unconvincing Defense of Trump’s Call for China to Investigate the Bidens

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) in 2018 (Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)

Speaking on camera at the White House lawn on Thursday, President Trump told reporters: “China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

Nebraska Republican senator Ben Sasse responded by telling the Omaha World-Herald: “Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth. If the Biden kid broke laws by selling his name to Beijing, that’s a matter for American courts, not communist tyrants running torture camps.”

“When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated,” Utah Republican senator Mitt Romney wrote on Twitter. “By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.”

But Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio is unperturbed. “I don’t think it’s a real request,” Rubio told reporters. “I think he did it to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it.”

Rubio’s defense doesn’t make any sense if you listen to or read Trump’s full comments:

REPORTER: Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that’s newly formed — and all these companies, if you look at — And, by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.

The president is quite plainly saying in public that foreign governments should investigate the Bidens, and he’s not joking.

What would Rubio say if President Barack Obama had called on China to investigate Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2011? It’s not hard to imagine.

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