Marco Rubio Slammed After Saying He Paid Off Student Loans by Writing Book

Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, faced criticism online after saying on Saturday that he paid off his student loan debt from the money he gained by writing a book.

"I owed over $100,000 in student loans. The day I got elected to the Senate, I had over $100,000 still in student loans that I was able to pay off because I wrote a book and from that money, I was able to pay it," the senator said during an interview on Fox News' One Nation With Brian Kilmeade.

In a reaction to his comments, Democratic Florida House Representative Anna V. Eskamani said on Twitter: "Interesting how Rubio forgets to mention using $20,000 from his political committee to hire a ghost writer for his memoir, which was potentially an ethics violation."

Eskamani was referring to the ghostwriter who was reportedly hired to help write Rubio's memoir, An American Son in 2012. Rubio's Reclaim America Political Action Committee (PAC) paid $20,000 to his ghostwriter, political strategist Mark Salter, to help write the book, Melville House Publishing reported in 2015. Conservative imprint Sentinel reportedly paid an advance of $800,000.

"Rubio's book was written by a guy paid by his political donors and it was probably an ethics violation. just do that, kids, and you'll be fine," producer Jordan Zakarin wrote, referring to some media reports that mentioned that Salter said that he was paid for "projects unrelated to the book." However, the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2013 that he was paid "for help writing a memoir."

Meanwhile, screenwriter Randi Mayem Singer reacted to Rubio's comments, saying: "Yeah, kids. Just take NRA blood money, get elected to the Senate and write a book, you lazy f****!"

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a relief plan to forgive outstanding federal student loan debt for some borrowers. Biden said that those who have student loans and make less than $125,000 a year are eligible to get $20,000 in student loan forgiveness if they received Pell Grants, while those who make less than $125,000 a year and didn't receive a Pell Grant will be eligible for $10,000 in loan forgiveness. However, Rubio among other Republicans criticized the plan, with some calling it "unfair."

Marco Rubio Slammed over student loan comments
Above, Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, is seen on Capitol Hill on May 17 in Washington, D.C. Rubio faced online criticism after saying on Saturday that he paid off his student loan debt from money he gained by writing a book. Photo by Anna Rose Layden-Pool/Getty Images

"I think the student loan thing in America is a big problem and it's broken and needs to be fixed and needs to be reformed, and I have bipartisan ideas I've been pushing for years to do this," Rubio said on Fox News. "This is illegal. The president doesn't have the authority to do this. He's not an emperor. He can't just with the stroke of a pen cancel $300-$400 billion worth of student loans...It's unfair."

In another reaction to his comments, Representative Val Demings, a Florida Democrat, wrote: "Marco Rubio's advice to Floridians struggling with student debt: become a career politician and profit off your position. I have a better idea, let's elect someone who will actually show up and fight for Floridians."

Meanwhile, in response to Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, GOP Texas Senator Ted Cruz said on Friday that "slacker baristas" benefitting from loan relief might help Democrats in the midterms later this year, while Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene called the program "completely unfair" during a Wednesday interview on Newsmax.

Newsweek reached out to Rubio for further comments.