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Rep. Ron DeSantis: Marco Rubio Needs to Decide Soon

Marco Rubio
Whether he decides to run for re-election or not, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio needs to decide as quickly as possible, said U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the front-runner to replace him in the November election. (Reuters photo)

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's good friend, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) isn't being impatient, he's just being practical when he says the senator needs to "decide soon" whether or not he's going to run for re-election.

The congressman was a guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show and was asked specifically about Rubio's change of tune about re-election following the Islamist attack in Orlando last weekend. DeSantis said he's fine either way his friend chooses, but in order to ensure victory for whoever is on the ballot in November, the sooner that decision is made, the better.

"Look, Marco's a good senator," he said. "Had he announced from the beginning that he was going to run for re-election, I would not have run. I would have supported him. I don't know what he's going to do. I have no inside knowledge at all.

"Obviously, if he makes a decision to run, that changes a lot about how I look at the race, but I think the important thing is that if there's a decision made, it should be made quickly, because I think what's happened is a lot of the rumors over the last several weeks have made it more difficult for guys like me to get, continue on the path of success.

"I just think it's better for everyone if this decision is made sooner rather than later. Even if Marco runs, I mean, he's going to want to have the opportunity to ramp back up. So I know no more than you, and I'll wait and see what happens."

In the meantime, however, DeSantis is running with the assumption he is still the front-runner in a wide open field to be the Republican candidate in November. Like Rubio, the congressman, who serves as chairman of the House Oversight Committee's National Security subcommittee, has a lot of counter-terrorism experience in Congress, which would likely be an asset in an election where preventing radical Islam attacks become a priority to voters.

"I think that the good thing about me is that I have a good contrast with the two Democrats who are running, because we've been taking a lot of the same votes," he said. "I fought the Iran deal. They supported the Iran deal.

"Both of the Democrats who are running for this seat voted to defund air strikes against ISIS just as ISIS was taking over Mosul back in 2014. Both of them want to release the terrorists from Gitmo, even though we know that released detainees from Gitmo have killed Americans in the field in Afghanistan.

"So I think in that sense, in terms of a general election as well, I think it's an important contrast that'll be good for our side of the aisle."

DeSantis and Hewitt also discussed what role Congress will play in assessing what went wrong with the FBI's investigation of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen. The congressman said that while the agency believes it followed all of its protocols properly, that it's also open to the congressional oversight process.

Among the areas that will be investigated is what the FBI knew and what were the factors that led to its decision to close not one but two investigations of Mateen. DeSantis also said legislators will want to know how much information local law enforcement had been provided through the Joint Terrorism Task Force and how they acted upon it.

"I think the director has been honest at saying look, we need to go back and see," he said. "Is there some things we missed? Should we have done things differently? And I think he's open to that process, so that'll be important, because when you have these guys in the midst, I mean, it's hard to stop every attack. But when you have guys that are displaying indicators, you definitely want to make sure that they are being watched."

DeSantis was asked how many "other Mateens are out there," and the congressman said the the FBI hasn't been specific about the exact number, particularly on a state-by-state basis. But he said in a state as large as Florida, he "would be shocked if it were less than in the thousands."

In conclusion, DeSantis said that if Rubio decides to run for re-election, he would be open to running for re-election in his own congressional district. The filing deadline is next Friday, June 24.

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