Rubio explains why he lamented use of F-word by media a day after newsroom shootings

Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio Getty Images

As most of his Senate colleagues from both parties offered their "thoughts and prayers" for the five people killed in a Maryland newsroom on Thursday, Marco Rubio had a different message for the media on Friday morning.

Stop swearing.

Sen. Rubio had not publicly commented on the latest mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, when he composed a tweet complaining that media outlets use the F-word routinely in news stories.

"Sign of our times ... the F word is now routinely used in news stories, tweets etc It's not even F*** anymore. Who made that decision???"

Rubio's office said the specific instance of the word that raised his ire had nothing to do with the Maryland newsroom shooting.

Instead, it was a story about President Donald Trump's trade policy in the online publication Axios that ran online about an hour before Rubio's tweet. The story, which references conversations between the president and unnamed White House officials about Trump's desire to withdraw from the World Trade Organization, includes a quote from an anonymous source that said, "We always get fucked by them (the World Trade Organization)."

Rubio's office said he didn't see a Thursday night interview on CNN where a Capital Gazette reporter used the word on air.

Selene San Felice, who was present in the newsroom when five of her colleagues were killed, told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "I'm going to need more than a couple of days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers because some of our whole lives have been shattered," she added. "Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, but I couldn't give a fuck about them if there's nothing else."

CNN ran San Felice's comments unedited, though they did warn viewers of the strong language. San Felice's comments were repeated in multiple news stories on Thursday and Friday.

Rubio's tweet drew widespread condemnation on social media.

"Five journalists died yesterday and that's your takeaway," a Twitter user asked Rubio. "For the love of heaven, try to understand that word didn't kill anyone. Bullets fired from a gun did."

Alex Daugherty, 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty