Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, increasingly sounding like a candidate for the 2016 presidential campaign, flew on Saturday to Jordan and Israel for a previously unannounced six-day trip as a member of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee.
Rubio took the limelight as a possible GOP candidate in 2016 last week by being chosen to respond to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
The Atlantic Wire reported Saturday, “Marco Rubio has to shadow everything the President does these days…. Watch for this point-counterpoint between Rubio and Obama to continue for a long, long time.”
Rubio’s schedule includes meetings with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayaad on “various areas of mutual interest, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
In his announcement of the trip, Sen. Rubio invoked the usual reference to America’s friendship with Israel, which he said “is a truly special one.” He added, “We must continue to do all we can to support this beacon of democracy, religious freedom and free enterprise in the heart of an unstable region.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council blasted Sen. Rubio for not mentioning Israel in his rebuttal to President Obama’s speech.
“Speaking on behalf of the Republican Party, Senator Marco Rubio neglected to even say one word in support of Israel or our nation’s efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” said Aaron Keyak, the Council’s executive director.