One of the most powerful moments during Rex Tillerson's confirmation hearing was when he faced Sen. Marco Rubio’s sharp questions about Russia and, more specifically, about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It was Rubio’s moment.
“Marco Rubio Doesn’t Let Rex Tillerson Off Easy,” reads The New Yorker’s headline on the hearing.
“Rex Tillerson is on thin ice. And Marco Rubio put him there,” writes The Daily Beast.
“No matter when it happened, Rubio's bull-dog approach could spell trouble for Tillerson's nomination and signal a larger rift within the Republican Party about whether to work with Trump on sensitive issues like Russia,” comments The Washington Post.
Here’s some Twitter reaction:
@CNN never thought I would be proud of Marco Rubio— Brad Baker (@BradleyKC) January 11, 2017
Marco Rubio pummeled & knocked out Rex Tillerson today, showing him how delusional he is to think Putin isn't a war criminal. WAY TO GO!— #NotMyPresident (@France4Hillary) January 11, 2017
Watching Marco Rubio question Tillerson makes me wish he was PEOTUS right now.— Austin Paul (@AustinPaul19) January 11, 2017
Out of the gate, some tough, aggressive questions for Tillerson from Marco Rubio.— Scott Detrow (@scottdetrow) January 11, 2017
“Many of his answers were concerning to me. I think it's important if you are going to stand for moral clarity that you be clear,” the Florida Republican, who holds a crucial vote on Tillerson, later told reporters.
"I'm prepared to do what's right,” he added.
But is he, really?
While it’s certainly commendable how he went after Tillerson, let’s not forget that Rubio backed the very person who has picked Tillerson as secretary of state.
Despite the fact that Trump had belittled and berated so many people, including Rubio, during the course of his presidential campaign, Rubio still supported the foul-mouthed billionaire — only because he was the Republican candidate. He didn’t denounce Trump’s bigotry; he backed him.
At the time, Rubio didn’t prepare to do what was right.
Also, Rubio may not seem too eager to OK Tillerson, but he reportedly supports Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
The young Florida Republican may be asking withering questions now, but he stayed silent when his tough talk counted most.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, David Becker