— -- He’s previously said Selective Service should be opened up to women, but on Friday Marco Rubio said he was against drafting women into combat.
“I do not support drafting women and forcing them to be combat soldiers. I don’t support that. I never have and I don’t now,’ Rubio said at the Faith and Family Forum in Greenville, South Carolina.
Rubio’s words had social media abuzz -- many accusing him of flip-flopping -- given the response he gave to a question on Selective Service at the ABC News debate just a week ago.
“I do believe that Selective Service should be opened up for both men and women in case a draft is ever instituted,” he told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The campaign maintained Rubio's words on Friday did not constitute a flip-flop, as Selective Service and a draft are different. At the debate, Rubio did not specify whether women should be drafted into combat roles.
“In the debate, he said Selective Service should be opened to women. Today, he said women shouldn't be drafted into combat roles,” said Rubio spokesperson Brooke Sammon.
Selective Service identifies people who would be eligible to be drafted in the case of a national emergency (currently, only men are required to register). A draft requires people to serve.
At the debate, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush agreed with Rubio that women should sign up for Selective Service. Ted Cruz later pounced, calling it “immoral” to draft women into combat.
“The idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think, is wrong,” he said.
Cruz continued: “It was striking that three different people on that [debate] stage came out in support of drafting women into combat in the military. And I have to admit as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was 'Are you guys nuts?'"
“Contrary to Cruz's misleading statements, Marco's obviously never said we should draft people into combat roles,” said Rubio spokesman Alex Conant.
On Thursday, Rubio’s Senate office confirmed he would co-sponsor a Mike Lee bill with Cruz that would ensure that only Congress would have the authority to reconsider whether women should ever be drafted.
Rubio also said at the Faith and Family Forum that he doesn't think "we'll ever have a draft again," as modern warfare makes the draft unnecessary.