Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, is furious that Sen. Marco Rubio is hitting up New Yorkers for campaign cash after voting against federal funds to rebuild the region after superstorm Sandy ravaged the area.
In fact, King urged New Yorkers not to give money to any of his fellow Republicans who voted against the Sandy aid.
"Nobody on Wall Street, nobody in the financial services, nobody anywhere in New York should give a nickel to these guys," he told ABC News.
King's tirade is the latest spat to roil the Republican Party which is already torn over the issues of gay marriage and immigration reform. King's fury is aimed at one of the party's possible presidential candidates.
"I am actually very angry and it's not just a question of being angry. I think New York has to send a signal that we are not going to allow national politicians to vote against New York, and really vote against New York in an arbitrary way, and then come to New York and ask New York to finance a campaign for president," King told ABC News today.
Politico reported this week that the Florida senator who has been called the "Republican savior" is trying to lock down high dollar Wall Street donors ahead of a potential 2016 campaign. King first voiced his anger in an e mail to supporters Thursday.
King says it's even worse than his other fellow Republicans who voted against the Sandy aid package because Rubio is from Florida, a state that has been ravaged by storms in the past and "has gotten billions and billions of dollars in hurricane aid," King said.
He said Rubio voted against the $50.4 billion in aid without talking to him or other leaders in the state like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo or New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The storm slammed in to the region on Oct. 29.
Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have long and often come to New York and hit up Wall Street's deep pockets to fund their campaigns.
"This is the worst natural disaster we have in the history of our state and region and he just arbitrarily voted no, and then to come in and ask for money... To me, if New York does this then we are just suckers," King said.
"To me it's something we just can't accept and it's a signal that we have to send that any of the senators or congressmen who voted against the aid for Sandy are not going to get rewarded when they come to New York," King said. "It's insane."
"Over the years I've known so many politicians who almost make a career out of either criticizing New York or voting against New York, and then I find out they are all having fundraisers down on Wall Street or out in the Hamptons," King said.
The Republican congressman, who represents parts of New York City's Long Island suburbs, said he hasn't spoken to Rubio. King added that Rubio "didn't talk to me before voted against aid for New York."
Rep. Peter King's Fury at Marco Rubio
King blasted House Republican leadership, specifically House Speaker John Boehner, when they pulled a Hurricane Sandy relief bill from a floor vote. He was joined by his friend and fellow Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who was also angry at the vote being pulled after being assured it would be voted on.
The money was later restored, but Republican harmony wasn't.
Since Christie took on Boehner for pulling the funding, Christie was uninvited to next month's Conservative Political Action Conference, despite being one of the most popular governors in the country. King said in response to the snub "if the Republicans start catering to CPAC then we are just signing our own suicide pact, and the fact that CPAC is the first step to the presidential nomination we have to end that."
"Chris Christie is the most popular across the board governor we have," King said. "He's conservative, he's balanced the budget, he's done tough budget reforms, he's pro-life and yet he has a 74 percent approval rating in a Democratic state. The fact that he is not being invited to CPAC because he fought for the aid that he's entitled to to save New Jersey shows Republicans if they give in to CPAC they have a death wish and it shows we should stop taking groups like CPAC so seriously."
The executive director of the American Conservative Union Gregg Keller said in response that King's comments meant he "apparently didn't get the memo that CPAC is a conservative event, not a Republican event. That's what the first C in CPAC stands for."
Christie responded to the snub Thursday answering a question about it at a town hall saying "that's their prerogative" and "they get to decide."
King said he considers himself conservative and feels abandoned by his party.
"I'm very disappointed and I said back in January it's going to be hard for me to look at many other Republicans in the future as I did in the past," King said. "These are the guys you sit next to every day, these are people you work with, these are the people that slap you on the back and say, 'We are all in this together. We have to have team spirit, we have team loyalty.' … I look at things very differently now."
Rep. Peter King Prefers Christie Over Rubio
Rubio's spokesperson did not respond to King's comments, instead sending the senator's release from December detailing his no vote.
"From a public policy standpoint, I have always believed one of the most critical roles of any government is to help people impacted by natural disasters," Rubio said at the time in a press release. He added, "However, we do have a responsibility to make sure this emergency spending is ultimately going to disaster relief, and not to other pet projects. Unfortunately, the Hurricane Sandy supplemental bill goes far beyond emergency relief to impacted victims and communities, which is why I voted no on final passage."
King said 2016 is a long way off, but if he had to choose between Rubio and Christie as the party's presidential candidate, "I'd be much more likely right now to be looking toward Chris Christie."
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