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Marco Rubio: White Nationalism Needs To Be 'Crushed'

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio takes questions from the media at USF St. Petersburg
Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio takes questions from the media at USF St. Petersburg

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio condemned white nationalism Tuesday in the wake of the mass shooting in Texas. It is being investigated as a federal hate crime.

During a trip to St. Petersburg, he compared the ideology to that of radical Muslim jihadis, saying both groups claim everyone else is evil and dangerous, and need to be "crushed." "White nationalism is an old, dangerous and un-American idea that's plagued this country," Rubio said. "It's un-American, it runs counter to who we are as a people. And I'm not saying the President said anything to anybody, but we should never do anything to remotely legitimize anything that they stand for. "And in many ways, it operates no differently than radical jihadists do, which is they tell you the people like you are the good people and everyone else is bad and evil and harmful and dangerous," he said. "And invariably, when you promote an idea like that, there will be some who decide to take violent action against the others. And that seems to be the case from what we know so far in Texas. It's an evil poison that needs to be crushed." 

Rubio has called for Congress to take up his so-called "Red Flag" bill, which allows family members and law enforcement to ask a judge to confiscate guns from someone who has shown warning signs of impending violence.

It allows states to use grants to develop red flag laws that allow family members to petition courts for an order preventing someone from purchasing a gun.

"My bipartisan 'Red Flag' law was filed 18 months ago & again earlier this year. We asked Senate Judiciary to take it up as few months ago. I hope they will now do so. Identifying & stopping a killer before they act is best way to prevent these tragedies," Rubio tweeted.

Rubio's bill is backed by Sens. Jack Reed D-Rhode Island, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, which would also use grants to encourage states to pass "red flag" legislation. Florida enacted its own red flag law after the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland.  

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Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.