Debbie Wasserman Schultz Claims Marco Rubio Advocated 'Internment' of Muslims after Paris Attack

Update: DNC walks back remarks, says Schultz was 'thinking about Trump' when she said it

December 9, 2015

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) claimed Wednesday that presidential hopeful Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) had suggested "internment" for Muslims after the Paris terrorist attack committed by the Islamic State.

Schultz, appearing on CNN, charged that Rubio and other Republican candidates were "in the same boat" as Donald Trump for his remarks about wanting to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. CNN anchor Jim Sciutto asked Schultz what more she wanted to hear from Republicans who had already condemned Trump's comments.

"How about them not saying the things that they have said? Because it's not just Donald Trump that has said that Muslims are unacceptable for admission to this country," she said. "Jeb Bush suggested that we should only admit Christian refugees, not Muslim refugees. Chris Christie would have denied even 3-year-old orphans, if they were Muslim, for admission to this country.

"Marco Rubio, after the Paris attacks, said, you know, it's not only that, uh, that we should be considering, uh, internment, he actually suggested that maybe we should close down cafés and diners where Muslims gather, and in fact compared them to the Nazi party. So they are all in the same boat."

There is no indication Rubio ever suggested interning Muslims in the wake of last month's terrorist attack in Paris.

After the Free Beacon reached out to Schultz's office, DNC spokesman Sean Bartlett responded with a walk-back of Schultz's earlier remarks by saying she "was thinking about Trump."

"On 'internment' she was actually referring to Rubio echoing Trump’s comments on mosques, but was thinking about Trump who recently equivocated about whether he would have engaged in Japanese interment during WWII," Bartlett wrote in an email. "Given the volume of candidates and extreme nature of the GOP, it’s difficult to keep track of every outrageous comment from this Republican field."

Rubio's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Schultz's statement about Rubio talking about closing down cafés "where Muslims gather" referred to an interview he gave on Fox News where he suggested any place where "radicals are being inspired" be closely monitored and potentially closed down.

"It’s not about closing down mosques," Rubio said in response to that particular Trump proposal. "It’s about closing down any place, whether it’s a café, diner, an Internet site, any place where radicals are being inspired ... So whatever facility is being used—it’s not just a mosque—any facility that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States should be a place that we look at."

Schultz has made incendiary remarks regarding Rubio in the past. In September, she was criticized after attempting to smear Rubio donor Harlan Crow as a Nazi sympathizer because his personal collection included Nazi art, suggesting Rubio should cancel a "tasteless fundraiser" at Crow's home. The DNC failed to mention Crow's mother was nearly killed by the Nazis in a U-boat attack and that he's a collector of historical artifacts.

Rubio said he was "outraged" by the attack on a private citizen, but that he was not surprised at Schultz's conduct.

Update: (5:41 p.m.) This article has been updated to show the DNC's response.