Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has accused President Barack Obama of “deliberately” weakening America’s standing in the world (video below).
During a Jan. 4 campaign stop in New Hampshire, Rubio gave a prepared foreign policy address, outlining what he believes to be a chaotic and dangerous international community that is a result of Obama’s policies, according to Observer News.
“Barack Obama was deliberately weakening America,” Rubio said, reflecting on the last seven years of U.S. foreign policy. “He made an intentional effort to humble us back to size, as if to say we no longer need to be so powerful because our power has done more harm than good.”
Rubio then took aim at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, linking her tenure as Secretary of State to his criticisms of the Obama administration. The Florida senator bashed Clinton over her policies on Syria and Russia and referenced the 2011 U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya.
“Not only is Hillary Clinton incompetent; she’s also a liar,” Rubio said.
Democrats were not the only targets of the presidential candidate’s frustration. Rubio took to task the isolationist policies of his GOP rivals, particularly those of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The senator said that his fellow candidates “are apparently more passionate about weakening our military and intelligence capabilities than about destroying our enemies. They talk tough, yet they would strip us of the ability to keep our people safe.”
While he did not mention the business mogul by name, Rubio took an unsubtle jab at current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who has argued that the U.S. should allow Russia to take the lead in handling the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
“We have Republican candidates who propose that rulers like Assad and Putin should be partners of the United States,” Rubio said.
The Florida senator concluded that America’s role in the international community “is to do absolutely everything required to keep this country safe, and it is to lead and be an example to an afflicted world.
“We are the only nation capable of bringing others together to confront global challenges, and when I am president, we will do so.”
Rubio has repeatedly made the strengthening of the U.S. military a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. He tied his strong foreign policy stance to improving the American economy during an October 2015 campaign stop in New Hampshire, according to The Washington Times.
“We are economically impacted by global instability,” Rubio said at the time. “One of the things that helps ensure global stability is a strong U.S. military. It actually prevents war, and every time we have cut defense spending in this country significantly, we have had to come back later and make up for it and it costs a lot more money.”