Activist implore Rubio to vet Trumps cabinet picks

By Troy Kinsey, Capitol Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 9:54 AM EST

As the U.S. Senate holds confirmation hearings this week for some of President-elect Donald Trump's most controversial cabinet nominees, progressive activists are calling on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to consider rejecting some or all of Trump's selections.

  • Activists in Tallahassee are unhappy with Trumps cabinet nominations
  • Protesters implored Sen. Rubio to reject nominees
  • Rubio is generally an adherent of Reagan's "11th commandment"

A dozen activists visited Rubio's Tallahassee office Monday armed with signs underscoring their contempt for the would-be cabinet secretaries.

They took particular exception to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's nominee for attorney general, who they argued has been alarmingly nonchalant about the president-elect's comments about women in the 2005 video that threw the final weeks of the presidential campaign into a frenzy.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a noted climate change skeptic, appointed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, was also on the receiving end of the activists' criticism.

"All these selections, we can go through each one, they seem to be appointed for the purpose of destroying the agency, dismantling it, not for the purpose of furthering good government, and that's what's so distressing," said Linda Miklowitz. "That's why we are trying to let our senator, Marco Rubio, know that we don't want him to rubber stamp these appointees."

While Rubio appears to be reserving judgment on the nominees, his antagonistic history with Trump during last year's combustible Republican presidential primaries is giving some progressives reason for optimism the vanquished could be poised to hand the victor a measure of payback.

"We would like to ask Sen. Rubio to vet the cabinet members very well and to block cabinet members that don't deserve to hold the position that they've been nominated for," said Lakey Love, an organizer of Monday's demonstration.

Like most Republicans, however, Rubio is generally an adherent of Ronald Reagan's "11th commandment," dictating that Republicans shouldn't turn on each other. Despite his past differences with Trump, forging a productive working relationship over the next four years could take precedence over any desire to settle the political score.

Rubio's comments during this week's hearings could indicate which path he intends to take.