President Obama excoriated Marco Rubio on his home turf yesterday, calling him out for his ongoing support for Donald Trump, despite criticizing him as unqualified and “dangerous” during the GOP primary.
“How can you call him a con artist and dangerous and object to all the controversial things he says, and then say, ‘I’m still going to vote for him’?” President Obama asked the Florida crowd. “Come on, man!”
“You know what that is? It is the height of cynicism,” the President continued. “That’s the sign of somebody who will say anything, do anything, pretend to be anybody, just to get elected. And you know what? If you’re willing to be anybody just to be somebody, then you don’t have the leadership that Florida needs in the US Senate.”
“Donald Trump wants to reverse progress. Marco Rubio wants to help him.”
The verbal lashing from the President is just the latest in a humiliating few days for Rubio, who has seen his historically reliable endorsements go to his Democratic opponent, Rep. Patrick Murphy, following his embrace of Trumpism, his absenteeism and his walk-back of his 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Earlier this week, the Miami Herald — which has steadily endorsed Rubio since 2010 — threw its support to Murphy, saying that “Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a test of character, and Sen. Rubio is failing that test”:
“How can voters believe he’s sincere when he says he does not share Mr. Trump’s awful views on Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, women, etc., yet — at the same time — stands by his endorsement of the New York billionaire? His act is unconvincing. It reeks of political convenience rather than political conviction.”
In recent weeks, Rubio has received further rebukes from Florida’s leading newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel (“Until now, we have never missed an opportunity to recommend Marco Rubio to voters…this race is different.”), the Tampa Bay Times (“A Senate seat should not be a consolation prize for a failed presidential candidate killing time until his next run for the White House”), and the Sun Sentinel (“Send Patrick Murphy to Senate; send shirker Marco Rubio home”).
“Over the past 16 months, Trump has proven to Rubio and the nation that he doesn’t respect Latinos, immigrants, women, Muslims, the disabled, veterans, or communities of color,” said Elbert Garcia, State Director of Florida’s Voice, following Rubio’s recent decision to renew his support for Trump despite the leaked tape of his sexually inappropriate remarks.
“Senator Rubio knows all of this, and yet he still campaigns for Trump’s election to the nation’s highest office. His continued support of such an unqualified, racist man calls into question Rubio’s own judgement and qualifications. In his pursuit for political power, Rubio has turned his back on Florida and joined forces with a racist, misogynist in support of the Marco Trumpo vision of America.”