Marco Rubio's Presidents' Day Message Is Turning Heads

Millions of Americans are sleeping late and hitting the malls on February 21, thanks to the annual holiday commonly known as Presidents' Day. It's a day set aside to honor our past and present leaders and their accomplishments — particularly George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in February.

But Sen. Marco Rubio sees no reason for celebration. On February 21, 2022, the Republican senator from Florida went on social media to argue that the holiday has been diluted from its original intent. "#PresidentsDay is a fake holiday, today is #WashingtonsBirthday," Rubio tweeted. "Many schools no longer teach real history,so make sure your children know #GeorgeWashington was a great man,our greatest President & made life better for every American who ever lived," he added.

Technically, the senator is correct. Per, George Washington was revered by the American public for his military service and his term as the nation's first president. In 1800, one year after his death, Americans began to honor his February 22 birthday with special events. The date became a national federal holiday in 1885, but the story doesn't end there.

Sen. Rubio was schooled on the origins of Presidents' Day

About 50 years ago, Congress began proposing that federal holidays be shifted to fixed Mondays in order to give workers three-day weekends. In 1971, President Nixon signed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved Washington's Birthday to the third Monday in February. Although it's still legally known as Washington's Birthday (via the Office of Personnel Management), the holiday has come to be known as Presidents' Day.

Sen. Marco Rubio's Twitter soapboxing was met with rolled eyes and history lessons. As one follower explained, "This is creating division when there isn't any. Presidents Day was created over 50 years ago. It wasn't some holiday made up to erase the legacy of anybody." Another posted Rubio's own Congressional schedule for 2022, which lists February 21 as Presidents' Day. Rubio's faulty punctuation wasn't lost on Joshua Malina. The "Scandal" and "West Wing" actor wrote, "Let's teach basic writing skills while we're at it." 

Prof. Jack Pitney, author of a book about former President Donald Trump, also got in a zinger about the GOP's stance against mandatory COVID-19 vaccines. Wryly, he tweeted an interesting fact about Washington's policies as commander of the Continental Army — "Indeed let us honor the father of mandatory inoculation in the armed forces."