Sen. Marco Rubio has scheduled a press conference this morning alongside Sen. Joe Lieberman, reportedly to call for the U.S. to get tougher on Syria.
Rubio appeared on CBS’s “The Early Show” this morning, and said the two senators would be putting forth a resolution calling for the US to sever ties with Syria and pull its diplomats out. He called on President Barack Obama declare that to take “the side of the Syrian people” and declare that the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is “no longer a legitimate one.”
Rubio has previously called on the United States to “sever ties and recall the ambassador at once.”
On April 29, President Obama signed an Executive Order imposing sanctions against senior Syrian officials and other government entities responsible for human rights abuses. And last Friday, the White House issued its strongest threat to Syria yet, saying it condemned and deplored the Syrian government’s use of violence in response to ongoing demonstrations.
The United States believes that Syria’s deplorable actions toward its people warrant a strong international response. Absent significant change in the Syrian government’s current approach, including an end to the government’s killing of protestors and to the arrest and harassment campaigns of protestors and activists, coupled with a genuine political reform process responsive to the demands of the Syrian people, the United States and its international partners will take additional steps to make clear our strong opposition to the Syrian government’s treatment of its people.
“The United States should be the leading voice in the world condemning what’s happening in Syria. We should make it very clear whose side we’re on and we’re on the side of the Syrian people. The second thing that we need to clearly point out and I hope the President will do … is saying that the Assad regime is no longer a legitimate one. Any time the government has to use government forces and army forces to kill unarmed civilians in order to hold on to power … that makes them illegitimate and that’s what’s happening in Syria. And I hope the United States will be a clear voice saying that,” Rubio said.
Rubio said that he expects the resolution to have “widespread support” and that he hopes the administration will step up to do more. When questioned about whether he thought it would evolve into a military issue, Rubio said, “I don’t think anyone is advocating military action.”
Rubio also touched on the recent death of Osama bin Laden, saying he had not seen the photos of bin Laden’s body, but had no doubt that he was dead. “If bin Laden’s not dead, why doesn’t he produce a new video proving that he’s not dead? We need to move beyond that right now…I understand why people are curious about [the pictures] but seeing them isn’t the important issue.”