Marco Rubio Turns the Tables on 'Meet the Press' Anchor

Marco Rubio Turns the Tables on 'Meet the Press' Anchor

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, and the interview didn't unfold as the host might have hoped.

Kristen Welker, who took over as moderator from Chuck Todd last December, seemed intent on challenging Rubio, who was born in Miami to Cuban immigrant parents, on the topic of illegal immigration.

“If re-elected, Donald Trump has said he’s willing to build migrant detention camps and deploy the U.S. military to deport the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country,” Welker began. “It would be the largest deportation operation in American history. Do you support that plan?”

“Eleven million?” Rubio responded with a chuckle. “That’s an outdated number — that was the figure 10 years ago. We’re talking upwards of 20, 25 million, maybe 30 million. There’s been almost 10 million people that have entered this country unlawfully in the last three years,” he added.

Welker tried to brush off Rubio’s correction by stating, “The number varies,” implying the difference wasn't significant. Rubio laughed again, “The number varies big time,” he reiterated, emphasizing that something closer to her 11 million figure had entered or overstayed their visas during President Joe Biden’s term alone.

Rubio then addressed the initial question directly, “The answer to your question is yes. We cannot absorb 25, 30 million who have entered this country illegally. They are here illegally,” he stressed.

The Florida senator argued that no country would tolerate such numbers of illegal immigration and dismissed the Biden administration's claims of “vetting,” noting that many migrants come from countries with unreliable documentation.

Rubio stated that removing such a large number of illegal immigrants would require “dramatic” action and reiterated that Welker's figure of 11 million was outdated.

Undeterred, Welker played clips from 2016 when Rubio, then running for president, disagreed with Trump’s plan to deport 11 million illegals. Despite Rubio having repeatedly dismissed the 11 million figure, Welker pressed on.

“So, why have you changed your mind now?” she asked, seemingly aiming for a "gotcha" moment.

“Because the issue has completely changed,” Rubio responded confidently. “When I said that, [and] back in 2013 when I was involved in immigration reform, we had 11, 12 million people that had been here for longer than a decade. Now we’ve had almost that number in the last three years alone.”

Rubio reiterated his point, perhaps feeling Welker hadn't fully grasped it initially. He also stated that some illegal immigrants might have intentions to commit terror attacks against the U.S., and there's no doubt that some were criminals in their home countries.

“This is not immigration,” he said. “This is mass migration. This is an invasion of the country, and it needs to be dealt with dramatically,” he concluded, adding, “By the way … polls show most Americans agree with us on this.”

Responses to the interview, shared on social media by the show itself, largely sided with Rubio, with a few exceptions. One user commented, “Wow, Rubio totally owned Welker in this interview. I’m a Democrat, but I was impressed with his interview.”

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