Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose back-and-forth attitude toward Donald Trump has seen him harshly criticize Trump during the primary season, then willingly support him as the GOP nominee in May, is now asserting he won’t speak for Trump at the GOP convention.
Justifiably concerned that his public support of Trump might tarnish him, as Trump’s recent racist comments regarding Judge Gonzalo Curiel have elicited a firestorm of criticism, Rubio told Roll Call, “I may not be asked to speak, but if I am at a convention or any Republican gathering for that matter, what I would communicate is the things I believe in. I’ve never said I would stand and speak on behalf of someone else’s agenda. I would speak about the things I believe in, not somebody else’s platform or on behalf of anyone else for that matter.” He acknowledged that his perspective is, in some cases, “substantially different from what Donald is offering, and that’s why I’m not sure I’m going to be asked to speak at the convention.”
Rubio expressed sympathy for Republicans who are genuinely disturbed by Trumps remarks, stating, “This is a tough decision for a lot of Republicans to make because, on the one hand, you don’t want Hillary Clinton to win, and he truly is the only way to stop her. On the other hand, you have something like what you’ve seen today and over the last few days. So, it puts everybody in a tough spot.”
Two weeks ago, Rubio told CNN, “I don’t know if I’ll have a role in the convention, but I have a lot of people going there that were supporters.” When asked, “But if Donald Trump asked you to speak on his behalf, you would do so?” Rubio responded, “I’d certainly, yeah, I want to be helpful, I don’t want to be harmful because I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president. Look, my policy differences with Donald Trump, I spent 11 months talking about. So I think they’re well understood. That said, I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president.”
On May 10, when asked about the criticisms he had fired at Trump during the campaign, including calling him a con man, Rubio told CNN’s Jake Tapper “I stand by the things that I said. But I’m not going to sit here right now and become his chief critic over the next six months, because he deserves the opportunity to go forward and make his argument and try to win.” When asked if he would endorse Trump, Rubio hedged, “I signed a pledge, put my name on it, and said I would support the Republican nominee and that’s what I intend to do.”