Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is now the nominee for the GOP again in Florida after deciding late to run for reelection. On Tuesday, he won his Senate primary, ensuring that he would soon be locking horns with his Democrat challenger, Patrick Murphy, (D-FL) in November. In a conversation with CNN earlier this week he defended Donald Trump while also pointing out the many negatives that come along with the Clinton campaign. In particular, he was asked about Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton a bigot, to which he replied:
“Democrats have been calling Republicans bigoted for a long time…
This is a perfect response to this question. The media seems completely unaware of the regularity with which Republicans have to deal with Democrat epithets calling conservatives biased, bigoted, racist, and phobic… but one Republican happens to mention that he believes a Democrat to be bigoted and the every other Republican must answer for them? That doesn’t make much sense. If CNN were to ask every Democrat about Republicans being called bigoted every time that happened… they’d never get to report on anything else. All of their time would be tied up dealing with Republicans being called mean names!
Instead of focusing on the bigotry, Rubio pivoted to Hillary Clinton’s many other “problems”:
I think Hillary Clinton has a lot of problems. I think she is corrupt. She is dishonest. Do I think some of the policies she stands for do harm minority communities? Absolutely.”
I’m not sure why Rubio can’t commit to serving out his term in the Senate, but he could really have handled that question much better. Maybe something like, “I will commit to serving out my Senate term, unless I feel called to pursue other opportunities.” Though I guess that wouldn’t be much different than what he actually said…
Along with this, Rubio has found some important allies this week in his race to win reelection. On Tuesday night both Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee implored conservatives to forgive Rubio for his “mistakes” on immigration reform and to move on.
“Marco Rubio won tonight and I was very glad to see that. I think we need him back in the Senate,” Hannity said during a panel on his show after the first-term senator easily won his Senate primary, remarking that while there are “still some conservatives angry over comprehensive immigration reform,” Rubio already “paid a very heavy political price in this 2016 [presidential] primary on that issue and he said he made a mistake.”
Rubio “apologized numerous times on this show,” Hannity said. “I think it’s time for people to move on, we need him in the Senate.”
Huckabee agreed, adding, “Marco Rubio is one of the most gifted up and coming Republican stars that we’ve got. He’s sharp. He’s articulate. The fact that he, in his first term in the Senate, really tried to do something. You may not agree with what he did, but he went there because he was used to governing and seeing things done. And we absolutely ought to respect the fact that he apologized. He said, look, it wasn’t the best thing to do. Let’s not waste an extraordinary talent like Marco Rubio.”
Is this the start of the Marco Rubio rehab? Does this mean if Trump loses in 2016 that Rubio is the likely 2020 nominee? I think this is about as good a start to the 2020 campaign as Rubio could have hoped for.