If re-elected to his Florida Senate seat, former GOP presidential contender Marco Rubio said he would work to combat two of the most controversial pieces of Donald Trump’s agenda: his immigration policy, and his proposal to ban Muslims from traveling to the United States.
In an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation" taped Saturday and aired Sunday, Rubio discussed the presumptive Republican nominee's controversial proposal to deport all undocumented immigrants — an estimated 11 million people.
“The reality of it is, you can't do it,” Rubio, who faced harsh criticism from his Republican rivals in the primaries for having advocated for comprehensive immigration reform, said. "You can't round up and deport 11 million people. There are people that need to be deported. Criminals need to be deported. But you can't round up and deport 11, ten, nine million people. The American people wouldn't stand for it once they saw what it would take to make that happen."
Rubio's dismissal of a Trump administration's ability to deport large numbers of undocumented immigrants comes just as Trump seemed to relax his rhetoric around what was one of his most unambiguous policies.
In August, Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he would deport all undocumented immigrants from the United States. But in an interview with Bloomberg Politics on Saturday, when asked if he would carry out "mass deportations," Trump responded, “No, I would not call it mass deportations.”
The real estate mogul's softened language reflects a possible adjustment to the tone of his immigration policy as the general election draws nearer, though Trump has offered no evidence of an actual policy shift. Meanwhile, Trump's remarks in Scotland over the weekend regarding his blanket proposal to ban all Muslims from traveling to United States only muddled his intentions.
In the wake of the deadly shooting at an Orlando gay club, Trump expanded this proposal to include Muslims and people from areas of the world with “a proven history of terrorism.” However, in Scotland, Trump said it "wouldn't bother" him if a Scottish Muslim came to the United States, and reiterated to The Daily Mail that he wanted to restrict the travel of "people coming in from the terror countries." Trump would not name one such country as an example, and the campaign did not respond to NBC's requests for further clarification.
Rubio, who has said he supports Trump as the GOP nominee, told CBS that the Muslim ban is "not a real proposal" and that he would "encourage" Trump in a different direction.
"I think it's bad policy for the country to say you're going to have a religious exclusion. And I think you've heard from multiple leaders in our party say that," Rubio said.
Hillary Clinton's campaign also pushed back against Trump's latest apparent shift on Sunday, not long before the Democratic presumptive nominee took part in New York City's Gay Pride March.
“Make no mistake, Donald Trump has called for a 'deportation force' that would tear families apart and deport millions," her campaign said in a statement. "Trump may try to mask his policies, but he's made clear that immigrants and Latinos have no place in his vision of America.