Rubio, Fox News Led Effort for Amnesty


By Greg Richter   |   Sunday, 28 Feb 2016 01:03 PM

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has downplayed his role in the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill that was defeated in the House and has since come to be labeled “amnesty” by conservatives, but The New York Times reports that Rubio was part of a dinner in 2013 with Fox News executives to try to sell the plan as not being amnesty.

At the dinner in the executive dining room of Fox’s parent company News Corporation’s Manhattan headquarters, Rubio and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer met with News Corporation head Rupert Murdoch and Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who were amenable, the Times quoted sources familiar with the meeting.

“But the media executives, highly attuned to the intensifying anger in the Republican grass roots, warned that the senators also needed to make their case to Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative talk radio, who held enormous sway with the party’s largely anti-immigrant base,” the Times writes.

They did just that, the Times reports, in a later dinner in Florida with Rubio, Schumer, Murdoch and Ailes in attendance. Limbaugh even alluded to it on his syndicated radio show on Monday, when he told a caller, “I’ve had it explained to me by no less than Sen. Schumer.”

Rubio also reached out to conservative radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, according to the Times. And Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly became friendlier to the plan, according to the Times.

But Rubio’s goal to bring more Hispanics into the GOP ultimately failed along with the bill, and Rubio and Fox “are still paying for that dinner,” the Times wrote. Rubio is constantly hammered by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the presidential campaign trail, and conservatives have less trust in Fox News now thanks to attacks by front-runner Donald Trump, though Fox is still the giant of cable news ratings.

The Gang of Eight bill — so named for it’s support by four Republicans and four Democrats — would have given a pathway to citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants with promises of securing the border with Mexico while any foreigners still in the country would have to leave when their visas expired.


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