Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio says the president has committed “presidential malpractice” when it comes to how he handles foreign policy, and his mixed messages about ISIS and other matters are ruining the United States’ reputation overseas.
“They are concluding that the American foreign policy is in the hands of someone who does not know what he’s doing,” Rubio told CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer Sunday.
Rubio said there will always be differences between Republicans and Democrats, but he hopes foreign policy will remain bipartisan. But when it comes to President Barack Obama, said Rubio, he’s had issues from the beginning of his presidency with his promises to disengage from the Middle East.
And now, Obama’s policy pronouncements are counterproductive, Rubio said, including setting “red lines” in Syria that have not been enforced.
“This week you have mixed messages coming from the administration,” he said. “Are we going to contain them or defeat them? The vice president says we’re going to follow them to the Gates of H—. The president is saying that we’re simply going to contain them.”
Obama has a speech to the public scheduled for Wednesday, and Rubio, a member of both the Intelligence and the Foreign Relations committee said he hopes the president speaks as he should have months ago.
“First, clearly explain to the American people what our national security interests are in the region, especially what is happening in Syria and Iraq,” Rubio said, and “accurately describe” the risks ISIS poses.
“This is a group that has made very clear they want to establish an Islamic group in the Middle East and drive us from the region,” Rubio said. “The way they’re going to drive us from the region is through terrorist acts, including here in the homeland.”
Rubio also wants Obama to describe the capabilities ISIS has, including “a ton of funds, weapons, but also foreign fighters, including foreign fighters with passports that allow them easy access to the United States.”
The Florida lawmaker also called for Obama to clearly outline his strategy for dealing with ISIS.
“I hope that includes a sustained air campaign, targeting the supply lines, their command and control structures,” said Rubio. “I hope he [will be] announcing that he’s going to target the refineries that they now control in Syria, [which provide] revenues which they’re using to fund their tricks.”
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