Fact Check

Rubio: 'God Killed Gays in Orlando to Signal He Needs Me Back in the Senate'

Marco Rubio did not say that the Orlando nightclub mass shooting was a sign from God that he was needed in the Senate.

Published Jun 24, 2016

Marco Rubio said the Orlando shooting was a clear signal that God wanted him to serve in the Senate.

On 14 June 2016, the web site Newslo published an article claiming Marco Rubio believed the Orlando shooting was a signal from God suggesting Rubio was needed in the Senate:

The terrorist attack at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub has “impacted” the thinking of Marco Rubio “about a lot of things,” the Florida senator said Monday, including making him “think a little bit about your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country.” During an interview with Hugh Hewitt on Monday morning, the conservative radio host urged the former Republican presidential candidate to change his mind and seek re-election for his Senate seat.

... the Florida senator attempted to point the blame to President Barack Obama and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “It’s very simple. If those poor people had guns on them at the time of the incident, one of them might have managed to shoot the assailant once or several times, which could have ended the entire thing before all those people died. So if the friends and families of the deceased want someone to point the finger to, it should be our president and his second-in-command. Because I hold them directly responsible, as should they.”

Rubio went on to claim that “it was God’s will that those people died,” and that God was the one who made it happen “because He had no other way of telling me how much He needs me back in the Senate.” “You’re well aware of the state of things in America today, Hugh,” the senator continued. “Do you really think that man decided to kill 50 people and wound as many just because of the spur of the moment? No, that was a higher power in action. That higher power is God, and that was His way of getting a message down to me. Well, I’m here to tell Him that His message was received loud and clear.”

As was the case with all content on Newslo, Religionlo, and Politicalo (a group of related fake news sites), the item was billed as a hybrid of news and satire. All pages featured a "show facts" or "hide facts" button, and all content displayed by default in "hide facts" mode:

newslo satire

While the quoted material in the first paragraph was taken from Rubio's remarks after the shooting, the balance of the article was embellished.

Newslo has satirized Rubio's positions before, publishing an item which held the former GOP candidate called the Zika virus a punishment from God. The Palin family is also a common target; an item claimed Sarah Palin blamed the end of slavery as for President Obama's election and separately suggested it be reinstated on a voluntary basis. A separate article held Bristol Palin surmised black actors don't get nominated for Oscars because they are difficult to distinguish from one another.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.