The highly touted freshman legislator has been consistent in arguing for the U.S. to be a force for good in the Middle East. He aggressively called for military action in Libya just before the U.S. agreed to a NATO mission to enforce a no-fly zone against Muammar Gaddafi's government, and now as al-Assad's military intensifies its ferocious attack on his own people, Rubio is among the loudest in Congress calling for the White House to show its diplomatic muscle.
The NY Times reported on Wednesday that 500 people have been detailed in just the last day and a half in Syria, joining an estimated 10,000 still in custody.
On conservative talk show host Bill Bennett's program on Tuesday, Rubio said he believed the White House had taken too long in calling out Syria's leader, saying:
" I think the fact that the administration continues to hold out hope that somehow Assad is going to be a reformer is not the right way to go. I intend, along with a couple of my colleagues this week, to introduce a resolution here in the Senate to act on this issue. And my hope is that this policy will move quickly on voicing support for those on the ground there in Syria who are trying, in a peaceful way, to bring about change to their country. And I think the world has to be so disappointed, I think, that this administration has not been more forceful in speaking out on behalf of freedom and democracy throughout the region, including places like Bahrain.”
The White House has not been silent when it comes to Syria. On April 29 the President signed an Executive Order imposing sanctions against senior Syrian officials, and last week the White House said they deplored the Syrian government's use of violence in response to the demonstrations.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that though U.S. officials are "alarmed" at the violence in Syria, the President is not yet ready to call on Assad to resign.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the President intends to give a major speech on U.S. policy in the Middle East in the next week.