WASHINGTON, March 17, 2016 – During an early morning press conference, Sen. Marco Rubio announced that he is not interested in becoming vice president and instead wants to focus finishing his final term as senator. He also shot down rumors that he may run for governor of Florida. The freshman senator from Florida, sounding weary after nearly a year on the campaign trail, said again he has no plans to run for re-election this fall. He also has no immediate plans to endorse either Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas or Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the GOP presidential nomination race.
“I’m not going to be anybody’s vice president (and) I’m not running for governor of Florida (in 2018),” he told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill, two days after dropping out of the presidential race. “I want to finish out my term in the Senate. Over the next 10 months we’re going to work really hard here. There are some things we want to achieve. And then I’ll be a private citizen in January.”
Rubio did say he would prefer that the nomination not go to front-runner Donald Trump, whom Rubio has referred to as a “con artist” for his past support for liberal positions and Democratic candidates. Rubio said he was hopeful that there’s still time to prevent a Trump nomination, which would seriously divide the party and damage the conservative movement.
Rubio predicted that Donald Trump would not be able to win enough delegates to clinch the nomination, saying, “It doesn’t appear to be headed there.”
“There’s still an open question about whether he gets to 1,237 [delegates], and we’ll see as it plays out,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the ideal outcome for the party. I think in an ideal world you have a nominee, people coalesce around the nominee, and it gives you a stronger position in the general election. I don’t believe Trump will ever be able to do that.”
Rubio acknowledged that his message was not enough to overcome Trump’s ability to tap into the voters’ anger. “At the end of the day, there was a 17-person field and I was one of the last four standing,” he said. “Every major political figure in the Republican Party at the national level ran for president, so I’m so proud of how far we got. It just wasn’t far enough.” He also left the door open for a future political run. At just 44 years old, he should have plenty of options in the future.
Trump and other GOP presidential candidates had slammed Rubio on the campaign trail for missing Senate votes while he ran for the nomination, and Rubio himself had said he didn’t much like his day job. But he seemed eager to resume his Senate routine on Thursday after flying in from Florida. Rubio attended a hearing on nuclear arms and an intelligence briefing on potential threats from space after his press conference.