Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) went off on a group of pro-Palestine protesters who asked him whether he would support a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
While the conflict has seen a limited ceasefire that has led to the release of a couple dozen hostages from Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, pro-Palestine protesters have for weeks called on the Israeli government to suspend its military campaign. Protesters have framed Israel as the aggressor while the Israeli government has vowed to “eradicate” Hamas in response to the October 7 attacks that left more than 1,400 Israelis dead, many of them civilians.
On Friday, a woman wearing a “GAZA” t-shirt asked Rubio if he would support an end to the conflict at this time. “No I will not,” Rubio immediately replied.
“On the contrary… are you filming it? I want you guys to film this,” the Senator then said while motioning to one of the protesters. “I want them to destroy every element of Hamas they can get their hands on. These people are vicious animals who did horrifying crimes, and I hope you guys post that.”
One of the activists then asked Rubio about civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas should stop hiding behind civilians, putting civilians in the way. Hamas knew that this was going to lead to this. So Hamas should stop building their military installations underneath hospitals, underneath civilians,” the Florida senator replied. “I think Hamas is 100% to blame. That’s what I think. Make sure you post that, please.”
After Rubio entered his office, a woman read a statement outside while another demonstrator could be seen placing post-it notes around the door. “This conflict, Senator Rubio, did not start on October 7th. It was preceded by decades of soul-crushing oppression against Palestinians that you and many other senators have refused to acknowledge. Oppression and despair is what led to October 7,” she said.
Pro-Palestine demonstrations have continued in major cities across the United States since the conflict began. Protests have shut down Grand Central Station in New York City, the White House Christmas tree lighting, and dozens of additional events/locations across the nation.
The demonstrations have also led to serious unrest in Washington D.C., where protesters stormed the White House lawn and vandalized the gates. Weeks later, protests outside the Democratic National Committee devolved into rioting and assaults on Capitol Police officers.