Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has responded to two CNN opinion hosts who questioned his faith while they sarcastically mocked him as “Mr. Bible boy” live on air Monday.
CNN's Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon lambasted President Donald Trump over his phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that critics argue demonstrated an attempt to convince an elected official to forge election results. Cuomo and Lemon harshly criticized congressional Republicans for not condemning the president’s phone call more forcefully.
Slamming congressional Republicans for what they deemed as “enabling” Trump, Cuomo specifically singled out Rubio, a former rival of Trump’s for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Referring to Rubio as “Mr. Bible boy,” Cuomo alleged that Rubio has “a Bible quote for every moment, he just never speaks truth to power … or acts on any of it in the interests of his own state or of this country.” As Cuomo spoke, Lemon repeatedly signaled agreement.
Rubio responded to Cuomo on Twitter Tuesday: “The verses I tweet are usually the ones chosen by the Catholic Church for that day's mass. But the fact he thinks words written thousands of years ago are relevant to current events proves the Bible isn’t just a book, it’s the word of God. AMEN.”
Earlier in the conversation, Lemon held up Raffensperger, who has become a target of criticism from Trump and several Republicans for his handling of the election and his agreement to sign a consent decree that led to loosening of signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots, as a “man of faith.”
According to Lemon, Raffensperger’s faith was the reason “he could sit there and just very stoically say, ‘Sorry, Mr. President, you’re wrong. Our data shows that you did not win Georgia.’”
Throughout the Trump administration, members of the media have repeatedly called into question the faith of Trump and his supporters. In a 2018 interview, Lemon got into an argument with the Rev. Franklin Graham, the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, about whether the president exemplified Christian values.
Reflecting on his education in Catholic school and citing the Bible passage from the Gospel of Luke proclaiming that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Lemon remarked that “the Bible and everyone always taught me to do unto others and not attack others and that’s all this president does.” He also called into question evangelical support for Trump in light of reports of his infidelity and use of the word “s---hole” to describe certain countries.
Lemon tried to portray Graham and other evangelical Christians as hypocrites because they called out the personal behavior of President Bill Clinton, who had a sexual affair with an intern while in office, but not Trump. “These alleged affairs, that are alleged with Trump, didn’t happen while he was in office. This happened 11, 12, 13, 14 years ago. And so, I think there’s a big difference,” Graham responded.
“I think the president has changed quite a bit in the last 11 years,” he contended.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made similar arguments during an interview with Politico that took place at around the same time: “Among evangelicals, there is an understanding that we are all fallen and the idea of forgiveness is very prominent. I think the evangelical community gives him grace for the mistakes that he’s made.”