For Sen. Marco Rubio, it’s the White House or nothing at all.
If Rubio doesn’t win the presidency, he might leave Washington, D.C. altogether. At the last Republican debate, Rubio said he would not run for reelection in the Senate. According to an unnamed source, Rubio “hates” being a senator, the Washington Post reported.
“I don’t know that ‘hate’ is the right word,” Rubio said in an interview. “I’m frustrated.”
The move away from Capitol Hill, regardless of Rubio’s presidential ambitions, may seem like a sharp contrast to the impression he made on Republicans when he first stepped onto the national politics scene five years ago. Rubio was a fresh-faced Tea Party darling who managed to bridge a gap between the far right and establishment politicians.
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Despite Rubio’s frustration with the slow pace of the Senate, his frequent absences may not be helping matters. According to CNN, Rubio has the worst voting attendance record in the Senate this year, largely due to his presidential campaign.
"Voting is not the only part of the Senate job," Rubio said, defending his record. "I mean, the most important thing a senator does is constituent service. We're still involved in looking out for Florida's issues.”
Rubio has long floundered in the Senate. After his first year, he told reporters he couldn’t “think of a single real high point,” in his time in office. The following year, he passed four bills, which were all symbolic and had no impact on policy.
However, the arguable high point of his Senate career came when he pushed for bipartisan immigration reform. “Here in America, those who once had no hope will give their kids the chance at a life they always wanted for themselves,” he said in a speech at the time, outlining his own parents’ struggle as Cuban immigrants. “Here in America generations of unfulfilled dreams will finally come to pass. And that’s why I support this reform,” Rubio said.
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After that effort though, Rubio began to miss votes. In 2014, he was one of the most absent senators and skipped 10 percent of all votes and skipped half of the Foreign Relations committee’s hearings and meetings.
Still, Rubio insists he stays briefed on his current job - not just the position he’s pursuing. "I was just there this Tuesday," Rubio told CNN of the Intelligence Committee, of which he is a member. "I got fully briefed and caught up on everything that's happening in the world. I'm fully aware.”