It was a rough night for Marco Rubio (R-FL) during his CNN town hall in Florida this Wednesday. Things got tense when he was questioned by a survivor of last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school, who challenged him to cease receiving donations from the NRA.
On stage in front of a live audience, high school junior Cameron Kasky said, “This isn’t about red and blue. We can’t boo people because they’re Democrats and boo people because they’re Republicans. … 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 not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?
Rubio didn’t answer the question directly.
“The answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda,” Rubio replied, suggesting that he’s not as subservient to the NRA as people assume.
“And I do support the Second Amendment,” he continued. “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.
Rubio then said that the NRA’s influence doesn’t come from money, but from the broad support it has from Americans — “millions of people that agree with the agenda, the millions of Americans who support the NRA and who support gun rights groups.”
But Kasky was unwavering. “Right now in the name of 17 people, you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?” he asked staring directly at the Florida Senator.
“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 from getting a gun,” Rubio replied, seemingly signaling a slight break from his party.
“I will do what I think is right, and if people want to support my agenda, they’re welcome to do so,” Rubio said. “But they buy into my ideas; I don’t buy into theirs.”
The town hall had other contentious moments. During one segment, a grieving father whose daughter was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tore into Rubio, saying his and President Trump’s comments after the massacre “have been pathetically weak.”
Rubio has received $3.3 million in donations from the NRA during his time as a politician.
Watch the video below, via CNN:
Featured image via screen grab