Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) gave a tutorial on the importance of a free press and free association at the Summit of the Americas this weekend after a Cuban journalist challenged him to denounce the National Rifle Association and its influence on American politics.
“It’s simple. In the United States, in comparison to Cuba, we have a free press. The press can question and criticize me all they want, and they do so daily,” Rubio explained after he was asked whether he would continue to accept donations from the NRA in light of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“I’m glad we’re able to hold a debate, because in Cuba you can’t have a debate. The answer is that in the U.S. the people know my stance,” he continued. “We also have transparency on who donates and who doesn’t. Yes, I support the Second Amendment and those people who support that Amendment support me. Those who don’t support it can vote against me. I wish you could also do that in Cuba, because you can’t.”
Student gun-control activists targeted Rubio during the March for Our Lives protest in March, accusing him of trading students’ lives for NRA contributions. Many of the students wore tags reading $1.05, which they claim is the amount of money Rubio accepts from the NRA for every high-school student in Florida.