Breaking several days of silence, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) declared he is still supporting GOP nominee Donald Trump, despite the release Friday of a 2005 audio recording in which the real estate mogul made lurid and suggestive comments and boasts about predatory sexual behavior toward women.
Responding to reporters who had been asking whether the emergence of the tape would prompt him to stop supporting the Republican presidential nominee, Rubio said:
“I ran against Donald Trump. And while I respect that voters chose him as the GOP nominee, I have never hesitated to oppose his policies I disagree with. And I have consistently rejected his offensive rhetoric and behavior. I disagree with him on many things, but I disagree with his opponent on virtually everything.
“I wish we had better choices for President. But I do not want Hillary Clinton to be our next President. And therefore my position has not changed.”
In a word, no.
Rubio’s decision to stand behind Trump could hurt him in his competitive re-election fight against Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.). The Democratic congressman has pounced on Rubio’s refusal to withdraw support for Trump as “political cowardice” that will come back to haunt him. Recent polls show Rubio leading Murphy in the race by a shrinking margin.
But if he rescinds his endorsement, Rubio risks angering Florida voters who supported Trump, a person he once called a “con man” who shouldn’t have access to the nuclear codes.