Rubio Aide: ‘There Are American Workers Who, For Lack Of A Better Term, Can’t Cut It’

June 17, 2013 7:15 a.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

In Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker Monday article on Senate immigration-reform negotiations, an aide to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has a quote that is sure to draw serious criticism from both the left and right.  

There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,” a Rubio aide told me. “There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.

New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait called it “not only a piece of shocking candor, but also the biggest single blunder the pro-reform coalition has committed so far.”

The idea that American workers don’t want to do certain jobs is a long cliché peddled by people who sit in soft chairs all day. American workers will do any job if it pays well enough — American workers toil in coal mines and collect garbage if they’re paid a living wage to do so.

Rubio’s spokesman objected to the quote in an e-mail to the National Review and said it does not reflect what Rubio believes, nor what he has argued in the past.

We strongly objected to the magazine including that background quote in the piece because it’s not what Sen. Rubio believes or has ever argued. In truth, Sen. Rubio has always said the reason we need a robust temporary worker program is to create legal avenues for US businesses to meet labor needs when not enough Americans apply for jobs. This is a persistent issue in many industries, like agriculture, and has been a draw for illegal immigration in the past. The legislation that Sen. Rubio agreed to sponsor creates a robust temporary worker program to meet our economic needs while protecting American workers and wages.

Sen. Rubio believes that American workers can compete against anyone in the world.

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: