Sen. Marco Rubio departed for the Middle East on Saturday in a visit that will include meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Jordan’s King Abdullah.
The trip will shore up Rubio’s foreign policy credentials and spur even greater speculation that the junior senator is planning a 2016 run for the White House.
Rubio serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.
The Tampa Bay Times has a report out Saturday that is sure to add fuel to the fire that Rubio’s in for 2016.
While noting that Rubio has “one of the sharpest political minds in Washington,” Times assistant political editor Adam C. Smith shined a light on Rubio’s inner circle, saying it includes “some of the savviest political operatives in the country.”
Several of those advisers have worked on previous presidential campaigns.
Speaking of Israel, Rubio said in a statement announcing his Middle East trip, “America’s friendship with Israel is a truly special one, and we must continue to do all we can to support this beacon of democracy, religious freedom and free enterprise in the heart of an unstable region.”
Rubio also shared that his wife, Jeanette, will be joining him on the trip — “at no taxpayer expense” — which is scheduled to conclude Friday with a return to Miami.
President Obama announced in early February that he would be making his first trip to Israel as president this spring. Local media sources in Israel reported that Obama will visit in March, just before the Passover holiday.
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