GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has a nickname for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: “the king of amnesty.”
The New York billionaire took aim at his rival for the GOP presidential nomination during a town-hall-style event Friday in South Carolina, where he also took credit for driving the conversation on immigration, and warned that Mr. Rubio and Ben Carson have supported “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.
“Carson, he is very much in favor of it,” Mr. Trump said. “If you look at Rubio, he is the king of amnesty. He was a member of the ‘Gang of Eight,’ and a lot of these people wanted to have very weak rules and regulations having to do with immigration.”
The “Gang of Eight” was a bipartisan group of senators that included Mr. Rubio and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another 2016 GOP presidential candidate, as well as Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Durbin of Illinois. They pushed an immigration bill through the Senate in 2013 that would have provided quick legal status to most illegal immigrants and an eventuality path to citizenship.
Mr. Trump also said that some of his rivals have started to act like “tough guys on amnesty” by embracing his calls for more border fencing.
As for the “Gang of Eight” immigration push, a similar proposal was never taken up in the House. Mr. Rubio now says that the only way to fix the immigration system is to first convince voters that the border is secure.