In an interview on Fox News today, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, not up for re-election until 2022, made clear he doesn’t care if your children are sick, dead, alive, or forced to yank a mini-ventilator behind them at recess, so long as they’re sitting next to other children in packed classrooms this fall, just as President Trump wants it.
In the interview with the Fox Blond Lady, Rubio was at least savvy enough to acknowledge one actual truth early on: it looks like schools will most likely not be opening in a few weeks “as long as infection rates are at a certain level.”
But on the subject of infection rates, Rubio was being villainously misleading: the coronavirus infection rates are not “at” a certain level; they are increasingly at a frightening exponential rate. New infections are currently drowning a majority of states, with no end in sight. In Rubio’s own state of Florida, over 9,000 positive COVID-19 tests and 132 more deaths were reported by the Dept. of Health just this morning. In total, there are nearly 300,000 coronavirus cases in the state, and over four thousand Floridians have already lost their lives because of it.
Had Mr. Rubio stopped with this mischaracterization of the truth, he might have gotten away with it. It was early and many viewers probably hadn’t had their coffee yet. But needing to have it all ways at all times, Rubio just couldn’t wait to pivot from simple number-fudging to absolute absurdity:
“I will tell you that I hope as we make these decisions it undergoes a cost-benefit analysis. Imagine if you’re a single mother who has to be at work everyday… what do you do with your nine year-old? If schools aren’t open, you’re probably dropping them off with the lady in the neighborhood who takes care of every kid in the neighborhood, and that’s risky too… so it has long-term impact that will be with us long after the pandemic is passed… there will always be risk as long as there’s no immunity from this virus, so we’re gonna have to do the best we can and be flexible, but at some point schools really do need to open.”Marco Rubio – Fox News, July 14, 2020
Putting aside the fact that it’s likely this hypothetical parent currently has no job to go to through no fault of their own anyway, what I want to know is: who is this mysterious “lady in the neighborhood” Marco Rubio believes everyone is sending their kids to during the day? What parent would think, “I don’t want my child in school where they could get sick, but I’m okay sending them off to Old Mother Hubbard down the street where thirty other kids are climbing all over each other, screaming into each other’s faces, and licking the doorknobs.”
Marco Rubio’s basic argument is correct, but it’s also useless. True, the lady down the street is not a better option. What Rubio fails to comprehend, or wants you to not consider, is that there are no good options. Rubio is arguing that sending your kid to a home with other children is just as dangerous as sending them to school, so why not just send them to school and make Donald Trump happy?
Separately, is Marco Rubio truly so out of touch with reality that he believes every neighborhood in the country has the benefit of some good-hearted woman in a gingham dress who welcomes in all the kids so she can graciously watch over them while their parents work? This is an American child care fantasy straight out of 1950s television, and it wasn’t believable then. Putting aside the sexism of his statement, does anyone think this is what Marco Rubio does with his children? He doesn’t. His wife Jeanette is a stay-at-home mom. Does anyone think any of Marco Rubio’s friends, associates or pals in his West Miami neighborhood cart the kids off to old Mrs. Trumble down the street every morning? They do not. These kindly female caregivers certainly exist, but are they actually the norm in our country? Don’t ask Marco Rubio, who at this very minute is probably writing out a nice fat check to employ private tutors for his own kids.
Making things even more embarrassing, Rubio went on to point out another danger that exists for children if they don’t report to class in August: “The harm is more than just learning gains, by the way. A lot of the child abuse cases in this country are identified first and foremost on the front line in schools. When you see kids showing up with bruises and other injuries… so there are a lot of things built into this that are a real cost.”
Is this argument any better? Sure, kids may catch the coronavirus in class, but if they’re not there, we won’t be able to tell which ones are being beaten up at home. And who would dare be against anything that would help us catch child abusers? Certainly not the Fox Blond Lady, who didn’t even blink. At this point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Rubio had gone on to suggest that maybe if the abused kid were in the classroom this fall, he or she could bring home the virus, infect the abusing parent, and kill them. Hey, the kid can always move in with Miss Myrtle down the block anyway. Looking at it this way, your child catching the coronavirus could really move society forward. So let’s all do our part!
Of course, the most pathetic note of Marco Rubio’s appearance was that he could have used his time on the air to present some ideas that could alleviate pressure on terrified moms and dads. He could have explained his vision for how social distancing in schools might work. He could have suggested ways for teachers to keep masks on the faces of unruly, hyperactive third graders. He could have put forth ideas for ways teachers and parents might work together to further the education of students without jeopardizing their health.
But Marco Rubio has no ideas, no plans, no original thinking. He only has worse case scenarios to scare you, and pathetic, unconvincing ones at that.
Marco Rubio can’t be bothered by any truths of the coronavirus when it’s easier to go on television and try to shame parents into putting their kids into a school they worry is dangerous. This is because Marco Rubio is a coward. He’s afraid Trump will attack him on Twitter. He’s afraid he’ll never get to be president. He’s afraid of that inner voice inside that tells him he peaked in high school. But mostly he’s afraid of what so many Republican senators who cower behind Trump’s lower legs are afraid of: that he’ll be unmasked as a person who’s made it to where he is by shoveling bullshit, and that he actually hasn’t the first clue how to help people facing a terrifying threat to their lives and the safety of their family.
Marco Rubio does not deserve his Senate seat.