Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising star in the party and a potential vice-presidential pick for Mitt Romney, said this morning that he disagreed with Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s baseless call to investigate Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government.
Appearing on NPR’s Diane Rehm show, Rubio was asked by a caller if he would join Republican Sen. John McCain’s strong condemnation of the anti-Muslim witch hunt on the Senate floor yesterday. While Rubio said he doesn’t personally know Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whom Bachmann accused of being connected to the Brotherhood, the Florida Republican said, “Wveryone I talk to who has dealt with her, [says she is] a professional and hardworking and patriotic American who loves her country and in the service of her country is serving it.”
“I am not a signatory to that letter,” Rubio said of Bachmann's letters to the inspectors general of several national security agencies demanding investigations. “I don’t share the feelings that are in that letter. Obviously, every member of Congress has a right to express their opinion and every member of Congress is held accountable for their opinion, if they’re right or if they’re wrong.”
“I can tell you that I don’t share the feelings that are in that letter,” he continued, “And in fact, I’m very very careful and cautious about ever making accusations like that about anyone.”
Rubio’s comments are decidedly more circumspect than McCain’s, but it is still unusual for someone in his position to speak out publicly against someone in his own party. Bachmann has also earned scorn from her former presidential campaign manager, Ed Rollins, who said Bachmann’s witch hunt is “extreme and dishonest.” “Shame on you, Michele!” Rollins wrote.
UPDATE: Sen. Scott Brown, the Republican from Massachusetts facing off against Democrat Elizabeth Warren in November, took to Twitter to strongly condemn Bachmann by name:
Rep. Bachmann’s accusations about Sec. Clinton aide Huma Abedin are out-of-line. This kind of rhetoric has no place in our public discourse
— Scott P. Brown(@ScottBrownMA) July 18, 2012