U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio came under fire after suggesting dealing with George Soros-backed prosecutors should be the top priority in Congress.
After Senate Democrats shot down an amendment Rubio offered that would require prosecutors keep violent criminals incarcerated, he took to Twitter to criticize prosecutors.
“The Democrats just blocked my effort to try and force Soros-backed prosecutors to put dangerous criminals in jail,” the Miami Republican said.
Soros, a Democratic mega-donor, has for the past several election cycles supported progressive candidates for State Attorney and District Attorney races around the country. Their policies have drawn criticism this year as Republicans run on law-and-order platforms.
But the assertion that Soros, who is Jewish, secretly controls a network of powerful decision-makers drew criticism as promotion of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
“Marco Rubio, what is a Soros-backed prosecutor? Do you mean Jewish?” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, a Florida gun control activist. “Asking for the many Floridians who are Jewish and who will be voting soon. With anti-Semitism running rampant in the state, you serve as Senator of, one would think you avoid this kind of talk, unless …”
Guttenberg became politically active after his daughter, Jaime, died in the 2018 Parkland shooting. He has heavily criticized Rubio in the past over gun policy, and has endorsed Democrat Val Demings’ campaign against Rubio.
Other voices across the country criticized Rubio’s tweet as well.
“When Republicans say ‘Soros’ they mean ‘Jewish,’ and Rubio knows it. Ugly stuff,” tweeted Democratic strategist Greg Pinelo.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, also considered the invocation of Soros to be coded anti-Semitism.
“This is how anti-Semitism takes root and spreads,” she tweeted. “What is a ‘Soros’ backed prosecutor? Soros is a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust,” she said. “(Viktor) Orbán the authoritarian leader of Hungary demonizes Soros all the time in Orban’s culture war to suppress freedom and democracy.”
Rubio gave a speech on the Senate floor Sunday after offering his amendment to a budget bill. In the speech, he did not invoke Soros by name.
“Let me tell you what people care about. They don’t care about buying solar panels and electric cars as much as they do not having to live in a community where violent crime is rampant and you’ve got some crazy prosecutor that refused to put people in jail, that refuses to prosecute entire categories of crime,” he said.
“Don’t waste time on stuff that doesn’t matter to real people who are working every single day who are not going to be driving an electric car next year or the year after that, but they might get mugged. But they might be a victim of a violent crime.”