Marco Rubio, that great hope of establishment Republicans watching Jeb Bush circle the W drain, has some major issues.
Aside from hating his job as a Senator, Rubio also claims that for two years as Speaker of the Florida House, he couldn’t tell the difference between the GOP party American Express card and his personal MasterCard, according to an article in the Tampa Bay Times.
Nor did Rubio notice the issues when the bills came. For two years. But vote for him for President.
This is Rubio’s excuse for charging the Florida Republican Party – and sometimes double billing the taxpayers for good measure – for personal things. Rubio is no fool, though; he refuses to turn over the credit card statements so no one really knows just how bad it was. But it seems to be somewhere in the $110,000.00 range of charges, according to a Tampa Bay Times article written by Alex Leary, though he points out that in Rubio’s memoir he wrote that he charged $160,000.00 to the party card.
Rubio charged the Florida GOP $10,000.00 for a family reunion, for example, ostensibly because his travel agent used the wrong card. (Always blame the help if you’re a Republican.) Apparently, Rubio didn’t notice the lack of a $10,000.00 charge when his credit card bill came. Same issue with confusion over the credit cards came when he paid for flooring for his house. He “pulled the wrong card” from his wallet.
Elaborating on Rubio’s issue with secret credit card charges on the party credit card, in which he “routinely charged personal expenses”, Leary wrote, “A Florida man filed an ethics complaint against Rubio in 2010, and in 2012 the state ethics commission cleared him, though an investigator said the level of ‘negligence’ exhibited by Rubio’s confusion between the GOP American Express and his own MasterCard, and failing to recognize the error on monthly statements, was ‘disturbing.'”
Yes. You could say that a two year ongoing failure of eyesight and memory is disturbing.
“In 2010, when some of his spending was revealed, Rubio said he repaid $16,052 in personal expenses charged to the party credit card in 2007-2008,” the Times reminded us. But Rubio would not turn over the secret credit card statements.
There were the double-billing mistakes, “On Feb. 26, 2010, then a candidate for U.S. Senate, Rubio admitted that he double-billed state taxpayers and the Republican Party of Florida for eight plane tickets when he was speaker of the Florida House. Calling the billing a mistake, Rubio said he would repay the party about $2,400 to cover the flights.”
Chris Ingram, a Florida Republican strategist, is not too impressed with Rubio according to the Tampa Bay Times article, charging that Rubio “explains things away enough to convolute the issue and then people don’t even know what the question was.”
That’s why I’ve broken this down to Rubio’s excuse. His excuse is that he pulled the wrong credit card. For years. He never noticed the difference between a business AmEx card and his personal MasterCard. Even if this were remotely legitimate sounding, a real fiscal conservative would check their credit card statements to make sure they match with the receipts accrued and carefully saved. Yet here is Rubio allegedly not even realizing – for years- that he didn’t pay for his own $10,000.00 family reunion. The excuse alone renders him unfit for office.
Big-spending Marco Rubio couldn’t even focus on paying off his own debts when he got a windfall of $800,000.00 to write a book, because a boat caught his eye and he just couldn’t say no. The New York Times revealed the disparity between Rubio’s speeches and reality, as he spoke of “prudent plan” to pay off loans but state records show him buying an “extravagant” $80,000 luxury speedboat.
Not a one-off, the New York Times showed that Rubio was serially “imprudent”, with “significant debts; a penchant to spend heavily on luxury items like the boat and the lease of a $50,000 2015 Audi Q7; a strikingly low savings rate, even when Mr. Rubio was earning large sums; and inattentive accounting that led to years of unpaid local government fees.”
Marco Rubio is a hot mess as a Republican who is supposed to be fiscally responsible. He represents what has become of the party whose platform slogan should be “All for me, none for thee”.
This kind of recklessness is alarming on a personal level. But coming from the party that likes to point fingers at Democrats, (inaccurately) accusing them of being big spenders who expect others to pay for them, Marco Rubio is a true nightmare poster boy for all of the truths he reveals.
The modern day Republican Party is resting on decades old laurels dressed up in fancy suits and looking smugly superior. But when the curtain is pulled back, we have Marco Rubio clutching his old credit card statements and refusing to let you see them.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.