Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said he would continue to accept donations from the National Rifle Association in a tense exchange with a student who survived last week's mass high school shooting in Florida.
Rubio, in front of an at-times hostile crowd due to his pro-gun rights voting record, was asked by Stoneman Douglas high school junior Cameron Kasky if he would pledge to not accept any more money from the NRA in the future. The crowd exploded into a standing ovation at his question.
Rubio said his positions on the issues were the same ones he'd held since his first days in politics as an official in West Miami.
"People buy into my agenda, and I do support the Second Amendment, and I also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe," Rubio said. "And I do support any law that will keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer, and that's why I support the things that I have stood for and fought for during my time here."
He told Kasky his question focused on the wrong thing, saying the NRA's influence didn't come from money, while some in the audience jeered.
"The influence comes from the millions of people who support the agenda," Rubio said.
"In the name of 17 [victims of the Parkland shooting], you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?" Kasky asked.
"I think in the name of 17 people, I can pledge to you that I will support any law that will prevent a killer like this from getting a gun," Rubio said.
"No, but I'm talking NRA money," Kasky said.
"No," Rubio said.
"I bet we can get people in here to give you exactly as much money as the NRA would have," Kasky said to cheers.
Asked again directly if he would take NRA money, Rubio said, "I will always accept the help of anyone who agrees with my agenda."
Rubio said he might have disagreements with the NRA, such as opposing the idea teachers should be armed or raising the age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21.
"I will do what I think is right, and if people want to support my agenda, they're welcome to do so. But they buy into my ideas. I don't buy into theirs," he said.
Kasky urged the NRA to not support Rubio going forward as he sat down and host Jake Tapper went to commercial.