Mostly True
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Marco Rubio "has the No. 1 absentee record in the United States" Senate.

Donald Trump on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 in a GOP debate hosted by Fox

Donald Trump is right: Marco Rubio has worst Senate voting record

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio attacked Donald Trump's conservative qualifications at a March 3 GOP debate in Detroit. (Inform)

In a heated exchange, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized rival Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for his Senate voting record.

"This guy has the No. 1 absentee record in the United States (Senate), he doesn't show up to vote," Trump said at the March 3 Fox News debate in Detroit.

Trump has trotted out this claim about Rubio multiple times, and we’ve found it to be Mostly True. Let’s revisit the facts.

The "most truant" award goes to Rubio if we’re looking at the past year. If we examine career records among the remaining presidential candidates who have served in the Senate, he’s tied with Republican rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.  

Votes missed this past year

From March 2015 through March 2016, Rubio has missed 77 of 263 roll call votes, according to GovTrack.

Here’s how Rubio stacks up against the other senator-candidates right now:

Senator

Votes missed (March 5, 2015 to March 3, 2016

Absentee rate

Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

125

41 percent

Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

108

36 percent

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

58

19 percent

 

Rubio’s absentee rate of 41 percent puts him at the 100th percentile, which means that in the past year, he has had a worse voting record than every other sitting senator. In contrast, the Senate median absentee record for the past year is just 1 percent.

The majority of the votes Rubio’s skipped came after April 13, when he announced his candidacy, the Tampa Bay Times noted.

"It's not unusual for presidential candidates to miss Senate votes," Rubio spokeswoman Brooke Sammon told the Tampa Bay Times. "Sen. Rubio remains fully engaged in the issues important to Florida and helping Floridians, and as he travels the country to talk about his agenda to help the middle class, there will be no doubt where he stands on any important issues before the Senate."

Overall attendance

Cruz and Rubio, as of March 3, both have a career absentee rate of 14.8 percent.

Senator

Votes missed (career)

Absentee rate

Cruz

152 out of 1,026

14.8 percent

Rubio

224 out of 1,512

14.8 percent

Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y., 2001-2009)

249 out of 2,616

9.5 percent

Sanders

131 out of 2,865

4.6 percent

 

But beyond the current field, neither Cruz or Rubio are the worst-ever offenders, according to a May 2015 Washington Post analysis.

For example, President Barack Obama missed 24.2 percent of votes in his brief Senate career. And that doesn’t even compare to the most truant senator of all time: Maryon Allen, D-Ala., who racked up a 43.5 percent absentee rate during her five-month stint in the Senate in 1978.

Our ruling

Trump said Rubio has "the No. 1 absentee record in the United States" Senate.

He’s accurate if we look at the number of votes missed this past year. In that time frame, Rubio has missed a higher percentage of votes than any other senator, including those running against him.

If we look at career truancy records among the remaining presidential contenders, Rubio and Cruz are tied at 14.8 percent absentee rates. Some former senators have had worse records, including Obama.

We rate Trump’s claim Mostly True.

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Marco Rubio "has the No. 1 absentee record in the United States" Senate.