U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has a warning for this country: be cautious of foreign powers, especially China, and their efforts and motivations to undermine the U.S. economy and elections.
“All I can tell you is in the history, perhaps of the world, there has never been a more patient or more ruthless effort to displace a country as the most powerful country in the world than what China is undertaking. At every level,” said Rubio. “Russia is a problem. They’re very aggressive and abrasive. China dwarfs it by multiples and we’re falling asleep.”
Rubio made his comments to reporters during a visit to his Tallahassee office located in the Florida Capitol Tuesday afternoon.
China, Rubio argues, has managed to infiltrate the U.S. immigration and education systems allowing Chinese immigrants to come here and giving them access to this country’s advances in technology.
“I’m talking about the ability to send people to study in the U.S., become U.S. citizens, embed themselves, even with classified standing, within American corporate entities that provide defense contractors and then deliver secrets,” Rubio said.
He says Chinese companies have invested in small U.S. companies that are helping to rebuild America’s infrastructure giving them access to sensitive systems that keep the U.S. in business.
“I have nothing against China, its culture or its people,” Rubio said. “But its Communist Party is moving and they have accelerated their process of trying to displace us and they’re using every tool in their tool box and we’re here arguing about what Joy Behar said on The View.”
Rubio admits it sounds like something straight out of science fiction, but he insists it’s real.
“It’s not paranoia, it’s a real thing.”
While the South Florida Republican insists China poses a more aggressive threat, he says the U.S. can’t forget the meddling by Russia in the 2016 U.S. election. Rubio fears what happened two years ago was just the beginning of Russia’s attempts to undermine the U.S. election system.
Rubio doesn’t think the Russians will blatantly attempt to interfere with the official vote count in future elections. Rather, he believes they will try to hack into voter rolls and remove blocks of voter registrations or change their addresses causing confusion.
“People are going to be saying, ‘look at all these Republicans that weren’t allowed to vote on election day’ or ‘look at all of those Democrats who weren’t allowed to vote, that’s a rigged election,’ and suddenly the election in this country is in doubt,” Rubio said. “We have an already polarized country at each other’s throat. That is what I fear most of all.”
Rubio says there is no state in this country that is prepared for that type of hacking of its election system.
What needs to be done?
Rubio says the U.S. has to recognize what the threat is and then build mechanisms to block intrusions into this country’s election systems and to notify the public when those intrusions do occur. He says election officials need to create redundant systems for counting votes and for announcing those votes.
“It can create national chaos,” Rubio said. “If you lived through the 2000 [election] where there were people arguing that George W. Bush didn’t win because of the narrowness of that result, imagine that happening in multiple states … you could get to Inauguration Day and, literally, have a substantial percentage of the country, not just angry about the way the election turned out, but questioning whether the person taking office is the rightful commander and chief of the Armed Forces.”