Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on President Obama to denounce Syrian President Bashir al-Assad for his crackdown against protestors in the country. He is teaming up with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to introduce a nonbinding resolution as soon as Wednesday to express support for the anti-government movement in the country.
“We’re on the side of the Syrian people. ... Any time a government has to use government forces and army forces to kill unarmed civilians in order to hold onto power that makes them illegitimate, and that’s what’s happening in Syria,” Rubio said on CBS’ The Early Show Wednesday. “I hope the United States will be a clear voice saying that." Other nations will follow the U.S. lead in condemning the country, he said.
President Obama ordered targeted sanctions against Syria last month and White House press secretary Jay Carney has also called on the Syrian government to end its violence against civilians, but the administration has not been as forceful as the U.S. positions against ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak or embattled Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
“The solution is to be a leading voice in the world,” Rubio said.
When asked about immigration, an important issue in his state, Rubio said he did not think it merited the same sense of urgency as jobs, the debt, or national security. “ I know immigration as an important part of our legacy, it's a critical part of our future, but we can't be the only country in the world who doesn't enforce its immigration laws,” he said.
Rubio's comment may have been a veiled criticism of President Obama, who delivered an immigration speech in el Paso, Texas on Tuesday. But Rubio did commend Obama’s decision last week not to release photographs -- which Rubio has not seen -- of a dead Osama bin Laden.
“If bin Laden is not dead, why doesn't he produce a video? The reality of it is the United States scored an important victory in the war against terror. The war is not over. There's a lot of other engagements to be fought and we made progress and, as I said last week, I congratulate the president, the national security team he's assembled and especially the men and women of our armed forces who carried this mission out,” he said.