Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida) told reporters on Friday that he thinks President Trump was just trolling the press when he publicly called on China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden for corruption.
“I don’t know that it’s a real request or him just needling the press knowing that you guys are going to get outraged by it,” Rubio told reporters on Friday.
“He’s pretty good about getting everybody fired up and he’s been doing that for a while. The media responded right on task,” he added.
“You are one of the loudest critics of China and its human rights abuses, I mean is it okay for [Trump] to ask [for an investigation into Joe Biden]?” a reporter asked Rubio.
“I don’t think it’s a real request,” Rubio responded. “I think he did it to get you guys. I think he did it to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it. Like I said, I think he plays it like a violin and everybody falls right into it. That’s not a real request.”
"I don't think it's a real request," Rubio says of the president standing on the South Lawn and calling for China to investigate the Bidens. https://t.co/Gcfh9bMWmg
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) October 4, 2019
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) on Friday ripped into the president, calling his request that China investigate the Bidens “wrong and appalling.”
Trump, speaking outside the White House before departing for Florida on Thursday, mentioned China after reiterating his call for Ukraine to launch a probe into Biden and his son — a request he made in a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that kickstarted a House impeachment inquiry last week.
“I would think that if they were honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked what he wanted Zelensky to do about the Bidens following his July 25 phone call.
Trump doubled down on unsubstantiated allegations that Biden and his son engaged in corrupt behavior by publicly calling on China to open a probe.
“They should investigate the Bidens,” Trump said. “Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”
Trump said he had not explicitly asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to open an investigation, but that it’s “certainly something we can start thinking about.”
“I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend they start an investigation into the Bidens,” the president continued.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 3, 2019