Marco Rubio attended a CNN town hall event Wednesday night, where several surviving students of the Parkland shooting were present.
One student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, junior Cameron Kasky, began by asking Rubio if he would continue to accept funds from the National Rifle Association, despite the fact that 17 people were shot and killed last week at a high school in his state.
“Senator Rubio, it’s hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15 and not look at Nicholas Cruz but the point is, you’re here and there are some people that are not, and I need to ask two things of you. Number one, Chris Grady can you stand up, this is my friend who’s going into the military. I need you to tell him he’s going to live to make it to serve our country.”
After pausing for a response, Kasky continued,
“Look, this isn’t about red and blue. We can’t boo people because they are Democrats and boo people because they are Republicans. Anyone who’s willing to show change no matter where they are from, anyone who’s willing to start to make a difference is somebody we need on our side here. This is about people who are for making a difference to save us, and people who are against it and prefer money. So Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now, that you will no accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?”
In true political fashion, Rubio tried to dodge the question:
“The answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda. And I do support the second amendment. And I also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe. And I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer, and that’s why I support the things I have stood for and fought during my time here.”
Kasky pushed him, speaking above the loud boos of the crowd, asking, “No more NRA money, more NRA money?”
Rubio still insisted, “People buy into my agenda. The influence of these groups comes not from money. The influence comes from the millions of people that support the agenda.”
Kasky followed up, “So right now in the name of 17 people, you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?”
Rubio dodged once again, “I think in the name of 17 people, I can pledge to you that I will support any law that will prevent a killer like this…”
Kasky interrupted, “No, but I’m talking NRA money. Matter of fact, I bet we can get people in here to give you exactly as much money as the NRA would have.”
You can watch the full exchange above.
Marco Rubio has received over $3 million in NRA campaign contributions since taking office in 2012.
Kasky also appeared on Face the Nation, speaking out on the student activism that has swelled since the shooting last week:
“It’s not our job to tell you, Senator Rubio, how to protect us. The fact that we even have to do this is appalling. Our job is to go to school, learn and not take a bullet. You need to figure this out. That’s why you were unfortunately elected. Your job is to protect us and our blood is on your hands.”
Rubio also has a history of siding with the other Republicans that have fought against measures allowing the attorney general to deny firearms and explosives to suspected terrorists, as well as measures that would expand background checks for gun purchases and close gun control loopholes.