Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio skipped a classified security briefing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, to attend a 1,000 dollar a ticket fundraiser in Newport Beach, California. Senator Rubio is a member of the committee, but he chose not attend the briefing titled “The Aftermath of Paris: America’s Role”. Several speakers, including three State Department officials, a Homeland Security official, and a Senior Intelligence Officer, presented information on the terrorist threat and the refugee crisis, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
In addition to missing the closed door meeting, Rubio also will miss an afternoon briefing on Paris for all senators. Marco Rubio has missed more senate votes than any of the other senators running for president. More significantly, as he tries to make his case for leading the nation in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, he has also missed many important security briefings.
As Alex Leary, the Washington Bureau Chief for the Tampa Bay Times, pointed out, Rubio’s absenteeism was an issue even before he announced his campaign for president. Leary observed:
In recent months Rubio has missed a slew of Foreign Relations hearings and classified briefings, records show, aiding his critics.(Continued Below)
In January, Rubio missed an intelligence briefing on ISIS and two other classified briefings because he was fundraising in California. In April he missed a closed Intelligence Committee briefing while in Texas raising money. And in September he missed a Foreign Relations hearing on the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.
Records show Rubio missed numerous hearings in the years before he announced for president. Those meetings covered a range of issues, from Al Qaeda to Iran and embassy security.
Senator Rubio has continually excused his poor Senate attendance record by arguing that the votes he skips aren’t that important. However, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he is in awkward position if he chooses to argue that security briefings in the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, are also insignificant. Senator Rubio will probably haul in a lot of money at the West Coast fundraiser Wednesday evening. However, in the midst of an international crisis, it could raise questions about the senator’s priorities.