Apparently no one ever taught Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) the old adage that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
On Tuesday, the Republican presidential contender took to the chamber floor to make his first vote in weeks and, before casting that vote, spoke in support of legislation aimed at curing a disease within the federal government: Workers who don’t do their jobs.
“All we're saying in this bill is if you work at the [Veterans Affairs Department], and you aren't doing your job, they get to fire you. I think people are shocked that that doesn't actually exist in the entire government, since there is really no other job in the country where if you don't do your job, you don't get fired,” Rubio said. “In this instance, we’re just limiting it to one agency. This should actually be the rule in the entire government. If you're not doing your job, you should be fired.”
Pushing for even that basic has opened Rubio up to a wave of criticism, from Democrats and rival Republicans alike. After all, Rubio boasts the Senate’s worst record of absenteeism.
"Pro tip from Marco Rubio to Marco Rubio: If you don't do your job, you should be fired," said Christina Freundlich, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, according to the Associated Press.
Rubio’s truancy was a campaign issue even before his speech Tuesday, with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and, more recently, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush criticizing his lack of a voting record. "He's missing, like, 35 percent of his votes," Jeb Bush Jr. said last week. “And it's just, kind of, like, dude, you know, either drop out or do something, but we're paying you to do something. It ain’t run for president."
Rubio, who has missed up to 30 percent of Senate votes this year by some estimates, has had to explain away his truancy before.
“The majority of the job of being a senator isn't walking on to the Senate floor and lifting your finger on a non-controversial issue and saying which way you're going to vote,” he said earlier this month during an appearance on NBC’s “The Today Show.” “The majority of the work of a senator is the constituent service.”
Tuesday afternoon’s speech suggests a standard for government workers, including senators, closer to one Rubio articulated earlier this year. “If you don't want to vote on things, don’t run for the Senate. If you don't want to vote on things, don't run for office,” he said. “Be a columnist. Get a talk show. Everyone who runs for office knows that what we are called to do here is vote on issues on which sometimes we are uncomfortable."