WASHINGTON, May 30, 2016 — Marco Rubio spent the early months of this campaign cycle slamming Donald Trump. Now, he has changed his tune and announced his endorsement of Trump.
Rubio’s change of heart is striking, particularly given the pointed insults he directed at Trump just prior to the Florida primary. Rubio called Trump a con man and worse. Now he says that Trump should be elected president.
Rubio says he will help Trump get elected and is willing to speak on Trump’s behalf at the Republican Convention. Republican pundits, including the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein have criticized Rubio’s change of heart. “For all of Rubio’s rhetoric about responsible leadership,” writes Klein, “he’s now willing to embrace a demagogue just because that demagogue has an ‘R’ next to his name. Trump, for all his faults, has managed to expose Rubio’s true character—and it is not pretty.”
Progressive radio host Mike Signorile called Rubio a “politician with no ideas, just a jumble of crap.” But Rubio has always said he would support whomever Republican voters nominated; he now says it’s time to move on from the intense rivalry that arose between him and Trump on the primary campaign trail.
Rubio has also been severely criticized on Twitter by conservative leaders.
Rubio’s decision to endorse Trump demonstrates that Republicans are slowly moving away from #NeverTrump and accepting him as the almost-certain GOP nominee. Along those lines, Rubio is releasing the 167 delegates he won in Minnesota, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. prior to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, now less than two months away.
Though pundits continue to question Rubio’s intentions, he denies he wants to be Trump’s running mate.
Rubio becomes the fifth of this year’s failed Republican presidential candidates to endorse Trump. Ted Cruz, for his part, refuses to join them. Instead of working to see his name on the Trump ticket, he may be maneuvering to get a cabinet appointment in a potential Trump administration. Pundits expect others of his failed class to seek work in a Trump administration as well.