Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been booted from his office in Tampa due to the number of protests taking place at the building.
Crowds of loud and angry protesters gathering outside the Bridgeport Center have caused management to evict Rubio and his staff from the nine-story office center, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Building management has refused to renew the month-to-month lease because the demonstrations have disrupted the other tenants.
Jude Williams, president of America’s Capital Partners, told the Tribune:
“A professional office building is not a place for that,” Williams said. “I understand their cause, but at the end of the day it was a security concern for us.”
Rubio’s lease expired in December, and has been renewed month to month since the end of last year, according to The Washington Post.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) March 1, 2017
However, the senator is going to have a difficult time finding a new building for his Tampa Bay base. Rubio must be out of his office by 5:30 p.m. this coming Friday, and does not have anything lined up, despite having been notified at the beginning of February.
Rubio spokeswoman Christina Mandreucci emailed a statement to press on Tuesday saying:
“We are actively looking for new office space, and our goal is to remain accessible and continue providing prompt and efficient service to all Floridians.”
This flies in the face of recent experience by constituents wishing to discuss their needs with Rubio, who has been refusing to attend town halls because of “heckling.”
Floridians have found many reasons to find fault with Rubio. The senator has a history of failing to attend important voting sessions during his last term in office, much of which he spent running for president. After his bid for the Republican nomination failed, Rubio reneged on his announcement to refrain from running for the another term in the Senate. Rubio has failed to contain Trump’s autocratic and anti-immigrant proposals, and has voted to confirm even the most controversial of Trump’s nominees.
The last straw for Florida voters was his confirmation vote for secretary of Education appointee, Betsy DeVos. After the vote, it was revealed that DeVos had made significant donations to various Republican senators, with Rubio being the mostly highly compensated with nearly $100,000 donated by DeVos into his election campaigns.
Floridians are furious.
Many of the protesters are following the “Indivisible Guide,” an outline of tactics for Democrats to oppose the Trump agenda on the local level and put pressure on Congressional representatives. Suggestions include attending town halls and showing up at district headquarters. The movement suggests many of the same tactics used by the Tea Party who opposed former President Barack Obama’s policies.
Marco Rubio once supported these tactics, tweeting his support in 2009:
“memo to establishment (in both parties): the angry folks at health care townhalls are REAL & their views are shared by a growing majority.”
memo to establishment (in both parties): the angry folks at health care townhalls are REAL & their views are shared by a growing majority.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 11, 2009
But apparently Rubio feels differently now that the shoe’s on the other foot, complaining of “angry folks” shouting at him. Rubio told CBS4-Miami that they’re “real people,” just that they’re “real liberal activists.”
Michael Broache, professor at the University of Tampa and co-founder of the Indivisible Tampa group, told the Tampa Bay Times that Rubio’s staff were polite, and that they had not intended to get Rubio evicted from his office, but Rubio’s refusal to show up at town halls has left them no other option than to show up at his offices:
“Our intention is to make sure the senator hears our voices and acknowledges the concerns of his constituents. Unfortunately, we’ve requested town halls, and he’s indicated he’s unwilling to do that at this point, and that’s why we’ve been present.”