Marco Rubio to attend meetings in Europe this week - not in Tampa - Florida Politics

Marco Rubio to attend meetings in Europe this week – not in Tampa

While federal workers get Presidents’ Day off, Congress takes off the entire week.

For some lawmakers, that means coming home to host townhall meetings, which for many GOP lawmakers have become contentious affairs.

Others are traveling overseas this week, such as Florida’s U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio.

The recently re-elected Senator is traveling to Europe to speak with officials regarding the U.S. relationship with the European Union, NATO operations and Russian aggression in Europe.

That’s according to Rubio’s Facebook page. The post says that, “Senator Rubio is traveling overseas this week to attend multiple bilateral meetings with heads of state and senior government officials in Germany and France, two countries with upcoming elections who are facing concerns about Russian interference. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Appropriations Committee, and Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Rubio is conducting this official oversight trip to discuss the U.S./E.U. relationship, NATO operations, counter-ISIS activities, foreign assistance programs, and Russian aggression in Europe.”

What that means is that Rubio won’t be attending any townhall events, including one that was created by activists who had hoped he would attend this Wednesday night at the Tampa Letter Carriers Hall.

“Sadly, we have all grown accustom [sic] to our absent Senator,” writes Melissa Gallagher, who created the event on Facebook. She says that the townhall will go on without Rubio.

“The fact his team refuses to even consider him skyping in or connecting with us is beyond disappointing,” she writes.

“As part of the strategy of disruption outlined in their online activist manual, the organizers are deceiving people by falsely advertising this event, which is not connected to us in any way,” responds Rubio spokesman Matt Wolking.

“The protesters – some of whom failed to show up for meetings they scheduled with our staff – continue to fundraise off of it even though we informed them days ago Senator Rubio will not be there,” Wolking says. “We have been fully accessible and responsive to constituents, and our staff has already met with dozens of these liberal activists at our offices across Florida. As their manual reveals, their goal is to flood offices with calls and emails, disrupt our ability to respond, then complain to the press that they aren’t getting a response.”

Organizers had created a GoFundMe page to rent the hall for Wednesday, and as of Monday morning had raised $2,242, short of their $3,000 goal. The original fee was much lower, but Gallagher says that it was increased “after the venue received several calls from police in Tallahassee and Orlando.”

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

4 Comments

  1. I am not a personal fan of the consistently elusive Marco Rubio. However, I am also not a fan of the image of the town hall invitation because it makes no mention of the fact that Marco Rubio never confirmed his participation. I think this should be accurately described as a protest and not a town hall. It seems reasonable to believe that Rubios’s travel schedule is planned far enough in advance that he never would have been able to attend a town hall on this date and this date was intentionally chosen to prove the point that he is not responsive to his constituents. I was actually very excited that he was having a town hall and then felt deceived to learn that this event was not as described on the invitation. I should have done my due diligence and checked the Senator’s Facebook page to verify any upcoming events. I wish he would follow the lead of Rep. Gus Bilirakis and hold events to learn the opinions of his constituents on key matters such as the repeal/reform of ACA. I also think the GoFundMe page for this event is borderline unethical.

    1. I hear you, but even without Rubio the format is a town hall; a public discussion with each speaker getting 2 minutes. This is very productive, civil and decidedly not the same thing as a protest march.

  2. “The protesters – some of whom failed to show up for meetings they scheduled with our staff…” Sorry, but that is just a flat out lie. Several people turned up for a scheduled meeting at Rubio’s Tampa office recently, only to be refused access by security. If that is “not turning up for a meeting,” what were they supposed to do? Rubio’s staff in Orlando have been pretty accommodating, but it seems that it is not the case elsewhere. Rubio has also accused the protestors of being “paid,” which is just downright offensive from our elected representative, as well as another outright lie.

  3. Marco Rubio is a wimp. Unfortunately, the voters have made our representatives feel they have the right to make decisions based on THEIR personal opinions however biased it may be. We NEED to bring theses people back to reality!! Rubio has the worst attendance record of anyone. None of us will begin at $174,000 plus for 90 days of work out of 365!! Get real people. Either they work for us or come home.

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