Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) traded shots with Republican rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) over immigration and national security during Thursday night's GOP debate, with Rubio portraying Cruz as someone who is soft on military-related issues and votes with so-called dovish Senators on defense bills.
“Every single time that there has been a defense bill in the Senate, three people team up to vote agains it: Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz,” Rubio said. “In fact, the only budget you have ever voted for, Ted, in your entire time in the Senate is a budget from Rand Paul that brags about how it cuts defense.”
Rand Paul is considered part of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party as someone who calls for a more withdrawn foreign and defense policy, and Bernie Sanders is a self-declared socialist who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Rubio then promised to veto any bill from Congress that cuts the military “in a millisecond” if he becomes president.
Cruz responded by saying he voted for Rubio's amendment to increase military spending to $697 billion and that he will rebuild the military as president.
Cruz also attacked Rubio over immigration, citing Rubio's work as part of the “Gang of Eight”comprehensive immigration reform bill from 2013. Cruz said Rubio supports amnesty and is too weak on immigration.
Rubio refuted Cruz's claims, arguing that Cruz has consistently switched his position on an array of issues, including whether illegal immigrants should be granted amnesty.