Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was asked Wednesday who he’d like to have a beer with outside of the political world – at face value, a pretty simple question. Rubio responded with a couple of answers: retired professional football star Dan Marino and Russian chess master Garry Kasparov. But it was his third answer, Malala Yousafzai – an underage Muslim – that was drawing plenty of jokes online.
“This is hilarious on about 40,000 different levels, the first being that Malala is both a teenager and a practicing Muslim, which would prevent her from drinking alcohol twice over,” a blogger on Gawker wrote. “There is also just the general image of Marco Rubio and Malala having a conversation at a bar at Marco Rubio’s insistence.”
The question was asked during a question-and-answer session for young professionals at Anselm College in New Hampshire.
Rubio asked who he'd want to have a beer with who's not a politician. He says Malala. Is that legal yet?
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) November 4, 2015
Q: "Who would you like to have a beer with who's not a politician?" Marco Rubio: "Malala!" Nope, not from an @TheOnion article.
— Rozina Ali (@rozina_ali) November 4, 2015
Yousafzai famously defied the Taliban’s ban on female education in Pakistan, demanding that girls be allowed to attend schools. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 but survived the attack and went on to write a book and become a global activist for women’s education. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and 2014, making her the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. Yousufzai turned 18 years old in July. Drinking alcohol is considered unlawful by most Muslims, and purchasing alcohol is illegal for Muslims in Pakistan.
Zaid Jilani of AlterNet wrote: “If Rubio is vying to be the president of the United States, he should probably try to avoid these sort of diplomatic faux pas, before he starts asking for a ham sandwich with [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu."
Marco Rubio said the most absurd thing of the election. https://t.co/GrVkorBxDM
— Gawker (@Gawker) November 4, 2015
— Steve Crandall (@JayandSteve) November 4, 2015
Rubio has been climbing polls in recent weeks. Results from a new national Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday showed the Florida senator now had 14 percent support, still trailing behind real estate mogul Donald Trump and former neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson but leading among established Republican politicians.