Media Call Rubio's Pledge To Support Trump If He Becomes GOP Nominee "Especially Unusual"
Research ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN
Media pointed out that Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) pledge to support front-runner Donald Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee is "especially unusual" given that Rubio "has been caustically attacking Mr. Trump as a 'con man.'"
Marco Rubio Pledges To Support The GOP Nominee, Even If It's Trump
Rubio Pledges To Support Trump If He's The GOP Nominee, Despite Leveling "Some Of The Harshest Attacks On Trump In Recent Days." A March 4 USA Today article reported that during the March 3 Republican primary debate, Rubio said he will "support the Republican nominee," even if it is Donald Trump, despite the fact that Rubio has "leveled some of the harshest attacks on Trump in recent days":
But what if Trump does win? Would his rivals back him in November?
That was the last question at Thursday's GOP debate in Detroit.
First up, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who's leveled some of the harshest attacks on Trump in recent days. "I'll support the Republican nominee," he said, citing the importance of keeping Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders from occupying the Oval Office. [USA Today, 3/4/16]
Media Point Out Rubio's Pledge To Support Trump Is "Especially Unusual" After Having Attacked Him As A "Con Man"
CNN's Camerota Asks Rubio How He Could Support Trump After Calling Him "A Con Artist, A Liar," And "Bad For American Workers." During an interview with Rubio on the March 4 edition of CNN's New Day, host Alisyn Camerota pointed out that Rubio has called Trump "vulgar, a con artist, a liar, bad for American workers, among other things" and asked Rubio, "if he is all those things you say, how could you support him for president?":
ALISYN CAMEROTA (HOST): Of course you have taken a page out of Donald Trump's playbook. You've talked about his little hands. And last night that came up. He talked about his endowment. And I don't mean to his alma mater.
CAMEROTA: Senator, what was going through your head at that moment?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Well, I mean, nothing surprises us anymore. This man, as I told you, he's injected a level of vulgarity into the political discourse that we've never seen. And as far as, you know, I said something, first of all, I didn't say what he was saying,and I said it one time. He has personally attacked a disabled journalist, I mean everyone, basically. There is no one who he has not personally attacked, sometimes in the most vulgar ways. But again, that's not what I want my campaign to be about. It's not what my campaign is about. I'm out there every day talking about the future of America, outline real plans. And by the way, an optimistic vision of the future. My campaign is not doom and gloom. It is about how things can be better if we do a certain set of things. And that's what I want the Republican Party to be about, the conservative movement to be about, and ultimately what our next president should be about. I'm asking everyone to join our efforts at marcorubio.com so we can put a stop to this ridiculousness and rally the party and offer a clear alternative to the American people.
CAMEROTA: And yet, Senator, at the end of the night last night, you reiterated a pledge to support the GOP nominee, whoever that person is. So this man, Donald Trump, whom you've called vulgar, a con artist, a liar, bad for American workers, among other things, how can you support, if he is all those things you say, how could you support him for president?
RUBIO: I get it And that's the quandary we find ourselves in. Because the alternative is Hillary Clinton, who, from a policy perspective, I believe is completely unqualified and would be bad for the country. And, you know, that's the quandary I'm trying to avoid the Republican Party having to face. I don't want us to have a nominee that people have to make up an excuse why they're voting for or hold their nose and vote for. I want us to have a nominee that we're excited about. If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, we are going to have a party that's divided. We are going to have a party that has to somehow, you know, justify to itself why it's voting for this man. I think it's hard to win an election with a nominee like that. The fact that people even ask that question should be indicative of how bad his nomination would be. Luckily, I believe I'm going to be the nominee. It is a tough road. I am most certainly an underdog. I'll have to fight hard like I have my whole life to move ahead and be successful. But I think if people want to avoid having to make that awful choice, of whether you, you know, hold your nose and vote for someone because you can't vote for Hillary Clinton, you want to avoid that, then rally around our campaign. [CNN, New Day, 3/4/16]
NBC's Guthrie: Rubio Called Trump "A Con Artist" And A "Fraud," But Pledged To "Go Into The Ballot Box And Vote For Donald Trump." In an interview with Rubio on the March 4 edition of NBC's Today, host Savannah Guthrie pointed out that Rubio called Trump "a con man" and "a fraud" and claimed that Trump "doesn't really know much about foreign policy and seems totally uncurious to learn," but that he also said he would "go into the ballot box and vote for Donald Trump":
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE (HOST): Let's talk about that debate. You really let Donald Trump have it, calling him a con artist, calling him a fraud, saying he doesn't really know much about foreign policy, and seems totally uncurious to learn. But then something happened at the end of the debate. You rose your hand and said, yes, if he's the nominee, you will support him. How do you square those two things?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Yeah, I get that. I mean that's the quandary that we're in, right. We as Republicans feel that Hillary Clinton would be a disaster to the country. That's how bad she is. I would look at that as a reflection of how bad she is, not as good Donald Trump is. Look, that's what I want to avoid. I don't want us to nominate someone that people have to be asked this question about all the time. If this was anyone else, if any other candidate that ran for president this year would be sitting in the position Donald Trump is today, that question would not be coming up. There is a reason why that question is being asked. And that is because there is a significant percentage of people in our party that will never vote for him, that do not want him as our nominees because he's vulgar, but also has no policy ideas. And the ones he has outlined are either dangerous or unserious. We're in a really bad spot here right now.
GUTHRIE: I hear you, but when push came to shove, you said you'd go into the ballot box and vote for Donald Trump.
RUBIO: Yeah, I know. Look, I'm not voting for Hillary Clinton. And so, I get it. [NBC, Today, 3/4/16]
NY Magazine: "Rubio's Failure To Disavow Trump ... Repudiat[ed] The Entire Basis For His Claim That Trump Is A Sociopathic Con Man." In a March 3 article, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait explained how, by refusing to disavow Trump, Rubio was "repudiating the entire basis for his claim that Trump is a sociopathic con man":
The most important moment in Thursday night's campaign came on the final question, when the three non-Trump candidates were all asked if they would support him as the nominee. They replied that they would, even though Rubio has made "NeverTrump" a slogan for his campaign. Rubio should have used the slogan "InconceivableTrump," so that Inigo Montoya could correct him. ("You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.")
The roots of Rubio's failure to disavow Trump -- thus repudiating the entire basis for his claim that Trump is a sociopathic con man -- could be seen in an earlier answer about Flint, Michigan.
Asked to avoid the blame game and offer specific solutions to urban-infrastructure problems, Rubio is unable. He conceives of the question entirely in partisan terms. He attacks the notion that Republicans consciously decided to poison children, thereby ruling out any possibility of government negligence as self-evidently preposterous. He has nothing resembling a specific idea on the issue, only the firm conviction that Republicans could not have done anything wrong.
This belief system has been the strength of Rubio's campaign. It is as open as Trump's internal logic is closed -- at least to anybody committed to the party. Rubio has run as the pan-Republican candidate, identifying the consensus position on every issue and locating himself there. That stance has made him widely acceptable. And it is the logic he instinctively fell back on in his final answer, when he was asked very simply if he meant what he said about Trump. Rubio did not mean it -- Rubio would never turn against the party. [New York, 3/3/16]
Huffington Post: Rubio Has Had "Harsh Words" For Trump, Who He Also Said "He Would Support In A Few Months As The Nominee." In a March 3 article, Huffington Post's Igor Bobic pointed out that Rubio has "accused Trump of being a 'con man' who is dangerous and uninformed on foreign policy -- harsh words for someone who [Rubio] says he would support in a few months as the nominee":
All of the GOP presidential candidates at Thursday's debate in Detroit repeated vows to support the eventual Republican nominee, whoever it may be, in November's election.
Though they've pledged to support the GOP nominee in the past, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), have argued that Trump is unsuitable for the presidency.
Rubio accused Trump of being a "con man" who is dangerous and uninformed on foreign policy -- harsh words for someone who says he would support in a few months as the nominee.
To make matters more awkward, after the debate ended, Rubio's campaign emailed a statement to reporters with the subject line "Trump Is Not Prepared To Be Commander-In-Chief." [Huffington Post, 3/3/16]
Slate's Bouie: Rubio Gave "A Scathing Indictment Of Trump," And Then Said He Would Support Trump If He Is The Republican Nominee. In a March 4 article, Slate's Jamelle Bouie pointed out that Rubio (in addition to Ted Cruz and John Kasich) gave "a scathing indictment of Trump," including calling him "a con artist," before saying he would support Trump if he were the Republican nominee for president:
Here is a small sampling of what non-Trump Republican presidential candidates had to say about Donald Trump in the lead-up to Thursday night's debate in Detroit.
"[P]eople will wake up," said Marco Rubio in a Sunday interview with John Dickerson of CBS News' Face the Nation, "and we're not going to allow a con artist to take over the party of Lincoln and Reagan."
Between the three men, you have a scathing indictment of Trump: He's a con artist who defrauds ordinary Americans; he's unfit to do the basic duties of the president of the United States; he associates with the worst elements in our society.
Obviously then, neither Rubio nor Cruz nor Kasich would support Trump if he won the nomination. Obviously, for them, a candidate this reckless and destructive shouldn't be elevated to the presidency, even if he shares an R next to his name on the ballot.
"I'll support Donald if he's the Republican nominee, and let me tell you why," said Rubio, when Fox News moderator Bret Baier press him on that question at the end of Thursday'sdebate. "We must defeat Hillary Clinton." [Slate, 3/4/16]
NY Times: Rubio's Pledge To Support Trump "Was Especially Unusual" Because Rubio Has Been "Caustically Attacking" Trump. In a March 3 article, The New York Times noted that "in a striking moment" of the debate, all of Trump's rivals, including Rubio, pledged they'd support the Republican nominee, even if it is Trump. The Times pointed out that this was "especially unusual in the case of Mr. Rubio, who has been caustically attacking Mr. Trump as a 'con man'":
Still, in a striking moment, all of Mr. Trump's rivals on stage indicated that they would support him if he became the Republican nominee. The consensus was especially unusual in the case of Mr. Rubio, who has been caustically attacking Mr. Trump as a "con man." [The New York Times, 3/3/16]