It seems some Republicans are so incapable of substantive critiques of Democrats that they're choosing instead to cling to anti-Democrat propaganda narratives even if they make no sense whatsoever.
That seems to be the strategy Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio is going with. At a recent campaign event, Rubio attempted to slam his Democratic midterm opponent, Rep. Val Demings, by trotting out a favorite Republican smear: He claimed Demings is anti-police.
There's just one problem, though: before she went into politics, Demings was a police chief. So Rubio's very ham-fisted choice of strategies seems to have blown up in his face, especially after Demings let him absolutely have it in a campaign appearance shortly afterwards.
Rubio made his comments during an appearance on Fox News, shortly after a recent campaign event in which he nabbed the endorsement of several of Florida's police organizations.
In his comments, Rubio claimed Demings' frequent acknowledgement of problematic race relations on many police forces, particularly in the aftermath of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by police, was a ploy to curry favor with the 2020 campaign of Democratic President Joe Biden in hopes he would choose her as his running mate.
Rubio went on to melodramatically say:
"When someone uses their former service in uniform with a badge as the foundation to give them the credibility to say these things, it’s incredibly damaging."
It's a bold move coming from someone like Rubio, who has no record of police or military service—especially against someone like Demings, whose didn't exactly take a light touch during her tenure as Orlando Police Chief.
And during a campaign stop in Davie, Florida, Demings lit Rubio right up for his comments.
“For him to suggest—the lifelong politician Marco Rubio—that I have turned my back on the men and women that I—while Marco Rubio was home in his bed sleeping—that I helped to go respond to some dark, scary places, dealing with some dark, dangerous people, scary people, for him to suggest that I turned my back on law enforcement is just an indication of how desperate he is."
On Twitter, Demings' clap back at Rubio definitely resonated.
Rubio has been polling well ahead of Demings since the campaigns began, but the race has not been polled since November. Whether Rubio's gaffe and Demings' clapback will have an impact on the race remains to be seen, but Demings told her campaign audience in Davie that his most recent attack shows Rubio "knows he’s in trouble."