Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced on Tuesday that he would support Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump for president even though he stood by criticisms made during the campaign that the billionaire was an “erratic conman” who shouldn’t have access to the nuclear codes.
After a GOP primary debate in February, Rubio had implored voters to reject Trump, saying he was “wholly unprepared to be president of the United States.”
“This is the most important government job on the planet. And we’re about to turn over the conservative movement to a person that has no ideas of any substance on the important issues,” the then-candidate said at the time. “The nuclear codes of the United States — to an erratic individual — and the conservative movement — to someone who has spent a career sticking it to working people.”
On Tuesday during his first live national interview after suspending his presidential campaign, Rubio told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday that he would fulfill his pledge to support the GOP nominee even if he did not agree with him on the issues.
“My differences with Donald — both my reservations about his campaign and my policies differences with him — are well documented and they remain,” Rubio explained.
“You have raised concerns about his campaign,” Tapper noted. “About his temperament and his views on foreign policy, on trade policy and other things. Would those reservations keep you — do they right now preclude you from endorsing him?”
“I signed a pledge and said that I would support the Republican nominee and I intended to continue to do that,” Rubio insisted. “I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be the president of the United States, I don’t want her to win this election. On the other hand, I have well defined differences with the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, and like millions of Republicans, you try to reconcile those two things.”
“I intend to live up to the pledge that we made, but that said, these concerns that I have about policy, they remain,” he added. “That doesn’t mean that Donald needs to change his positions in order to get my support.”
“But [you said] you had concerns about the nuclear codes being in the hands of an erratic conman,” Tapper pointed out.
“Here’s what I’m not going to do over the next six months,” Rubio replied. “I’m not going to sit there and be taking shots at him.”
“I don’t view my role over the next six months to just sit here and level charges against him,” the senator said. “I know what I said during the campaign, I enunciated those things repeatedly. And voters chose a different direction. I stand by the things that I said.”
Watch the video below from CNN.