As Marco Rubio celebrates 50th birthday, protests return in Orlando

Anti-Marco Rubio protest in Orlando
Activists have protested in front of Rubio's office for many years.

Happy 50th birthday, Sen. Marco Rubio. Your not-a-fan club in Orlando is gathering again to wish you not the best.

Progressive Democratic Rubio protesters, who gathered in front of his downtown Orlando office occasionally since the Pulse tragedy in 2016 and weekly for about a year in 2017 and 2018, returned Friday, now organized by For Our Future, to mark Rubio’s birthday and pledge to work to send the Republican into retirement after the 2022 election.

“I’ve been standing on this street since 2016 with all kinds of people who are trying to get Rubio to do his job, just do his job and protect the people. We’ve been out here fighting for the environment, for health care, for people with disabilities, for women’s rights, for immigration rights. Rubio has not done anything,” said Kim Porteous with the Florida National Organization for Women. “He has been checked out for years. It is time for him to go.”

She was joined by about a dozen activists with For Our Future Florida, Poder Latinx, Florida Student Power Network, and unaffiliated activists.

“Marco! Retire! Go home! You’ve done nothing!” said Giulianna Di Lauro state director for Poder Latinx Florida. “Happy birthday! Please retire.”

Friday’s protest, though small and mild compared to many past, was nonetheless reminiscent of times when protests in front of Rubio’s regional offices around Florida were disruptive enough to cause problems for the Senator’s staff. Rubio had to relocate his offices in Tampa and Jacksonville because the landlords were unhappy with protests. He also moved his Miami office in 2018, though his staff said that was to seek more space, not because of protesters. In each case, the moves secured locations less hospitable to protests.

Rubio’s Orlando office has stayed put for many years. Not that protesters haven’t tried to disrupt. Following the horrific June 12, 2016, mass murder at Pulse, then Orlando’s popular gay nightclub, more than 100 protesters entered the Seaside Office Plaza office building and occupied the first-floor lobby for about 10 hours, leading to numerous arrests.

There was only a mild tense moment Friday, as an official of the building’s property management approached the protesters and asked them to leave. When they politely declined, the official called Orlando police. Two officers arrived later, met privately with him briefly, then went on their way as the rally wrapped up.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Ocean Joe

    May 30, 2021 at 7:42 am

    He’s such a flip flopper it’s surprising he holds any position long enough for a protest to gather. 20 folks shot in Miami at a concert last night by AR-15 type weaon(s). Common sense and the value of human life take a backseat to pleasing the NRA. Abortion is the worst, but mass shootings somehow not so bad.
    Laughably, Marco used the Pulse shooting to justify his decision to re-enter the senate race. He claimed Florida needed his leadership. Laughable because he’s never cared about limiting these weapons of war, nor the LGBT people and Marco the leader never showed up.
    He’s rightwing today, will be totally centrist for the general election and then go back to wind milling on everything. There’s a position for everyone if you can just wait for it.

  • Alton Robinson

    May 30, 2021 at 9:03 am

    This is not about Senator Rubio per se. This is a protest organized by the Democratic Party on Rep. Val Demings behalf. Don’t think for a moment that Speaker Pelosi and Sen Schumer and the Democratic Party establishment aren’t funding it. Its sad how Rep Demings has become such a puppet for Pelosi. I thought we could trust her to act independently in Congress.

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