Just a few months ago, conservatives were looking for a primary challenger to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and speculation swirled around a potential Ivanka Trump challenge to him in the 2022 primary.
The threat to Marco Rubio from within the Republican Party eased on Friday with a “Complete and Total Endorsement” from Florida’s most famous resident: former President Donald Trump.
“Marco has been a tireless advocate for the people of Florida,” Donald Trump said in a statement issued by his Save America political organization.
“Marco will never let the great people of Florida, or our Country, down!”
Even though Mr Donald Trump has been banned from Twitter, the statement read the way his tweets used to sound, complete with unconventional capitalization.
The former president, Donal Trump was especially delighted about Marco Rubio’s performance during his service as acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from May 2020 until Democrats took control of the Senate this year.
Donald Trump, who has long denied any involvement in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, said about Marco Rubio:
“He also ruled that ‘President Trump was in no way involved with Russia,’ as he presided over the Senate Intelligence Committee on the FAKE Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax.”
Marco Rubio thanked former president Donald Trump in a statement and praised the former president’s “leadership on the major issues facing our nation.”
Mr. Marco Rubio, in his second term and the state’s senior senator, has had a mixed relationship with the former president. Both men sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and criticized each other harshly during the campaign.
Former President Donald Trump crushed Marco Rubio in the 2016 presidential primaries. The night that Trump, then a New Yorker, soundly defeated Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida, the senator dropped out of the presidential race. (It was a rout. Rubio won only his home territory, Miami-Dade County. But winning 63% to 23% there, even though it’s the state’s largest county, couldn’t make up for Trump winning 48% to Rubio’s 24% in the state’s other 66 counties.)
After Donald Trump emerged as the victor, the two reached a détente, which involved Marco Rubio supporting just about everything Donald Trump said and did as president.
However, some Florida Donald Trump supporters have remained suspicious of Rubio, thinking he hasn’t been as pro-Trump as they would have liked.
“Our people who are your more hard-core Trump supporters have a disdain for Marco Rubio,” Joe Budd, the elected state committeeman from Palm Beach County, said in January.
Budd tried to get U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz to challenge Rubio. Gaetz, who is since the subject of a major scandal, declined.
As Trump’s presidency came to an end, there was speculation that his eldest daughter would challenge Rubio in the 2022 primary. But in February, a campaign spokesman said she had told the senator she wouldn’t run.