Max Boot is well known as a conservative anti-Trump columnist for the Washington Post, but he was also a foreign policy adviser for Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. And in a new piece on Thursday, Boot revealed just how depressing he finds Rubio’s “humiliating transformation into a Trump fan-boy.”
Rubio’s support for the president came under new scrutiny this week after he appeared at Donald Trump’s recent rally in Orlando and tweeted an enthusiastic endorsement:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 19, 2019
When a reporter pointed out that Rubio’s transformation from an aggressive Trump opponent into a booster is still shocking, the Florida senator apparently took offense:
In an unprecedented move a Republican Senator attended a rally in his home state in support of the re-election of a Republican President. https://t.co/0zC3nvJB0X
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 19, 2019
Of course, it’s common for rival presidential candidates from the same party to end up supporting each other after the campaign. But the anti-Trump rhetoric among GOP presidential candidates, especially Rubio, was far more severe and damning than is usual, and the swift reversals are indeed jarring — even if the reasons behind the change are obvious.
Boot reminisced about just how sweeping Rubio’s attacks on Trump in 2016 were:
Hard to believe, but only a little more than three years have passed since Trump was calling Rubio “Little Marco” and Rubio was calling Trump a “con artist” who was seeking to perpetrate “the biggest scam in American political history,” an “erratic” liar who couldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes and a candidate who “isn’t gonna make America great, he’s gonna make America orange.” Rubio’s transformation from “Never Trump” to “Forever Trump” is, of course, hardly unusual in today’s principles-free Republican Party. Sitting next to Rubio, after all, was Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who, before becoming Trump’s caddie, once called him a “jackass,” “kook” and “idiot.”
All is forgiven, it seems.
“When Rubio endorsed the ‘con man’ for president, I was aghast and incredulous,” Boot continued “I called one of his senior aides to ask how someone who had said he was ‘Never Trump’ could be for, well, Trump. The lame answer I received was that Rubio was only ‘Never Trump’ in the primaries.”
It’s stunning how many people and outlets who explicitly cast themselves as “Never Trump” seem to not understand what “never” actually means. For those keeping score at home, “never” means “not ever.” As Google’s dictionary puts it: “at no time in the past or future; on no occasion.” It does not mean “well maybe at some point.”
But then again, it’s not the first abrupt about-face from Rubio. During the 2016 campaign, he repeatedly said he would not run to hold on to his Senate seat if he lost the Republican presidential primary. When Rubio’s chance at the presidency was clearly doomed, he was questioned whether he would change his mind about the Senate seat. And he was adamant:
I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 17, 2016
Of course, he changed his mind on that and ended up keeping his seat. So is it any surprise that he would eventually embrace Trump wholeheartedly, once he realized his grasp on power depended on it?
“He needs to stay on the good side of the ‘con man’ to keep his Senate seat in 2022 and to stand a shot at winning the White House himself in 2024,” said Boot. “Rubio has decided that Trump is the future of the Republican Party. He’s probably right. That’s why I’m not a Republican anymore — and why I couldn’t imagine supporting Rubio for any office ever again. I’m sorry I supported him in 2016.”
GOP in a panic about what to do with Steve King as Democrats can’t wait to face him in the election
On Saturday, MSNBC's Garrett Haake broke down the nightmare situation Republicans are facing with Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has faced outrage for years of white supremacist comments, and more recently suggested that rape and incest might be a good thing for society.
"What more recourse do Republicans have?" said host David Gura. "We had this cycle of condemnation in the past after comments were made. He was stripped of committee assignments. Is there more Republicans can do vis-a-vis Steve King?"
Trump’s economic advisers baffled over how to hold off recession that his trade war set it in motion: report
According to a report from ABC, Donald Trump's economic advisers are baffled about how to stop what appears to be a recession coming before the 2020 election after his trade war upset an already teetering worldwide economy.
With the report noting that Trump had hoped to run on a strong economy as part of his 2020 re-election strategy, warnings from economists that a recession may arrive before then has White House officials in a panic.
"The financial markets signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession this week, sending a jolt of anxiety to investors, companies and consumers. That's on top of concerns over Trump's plans to impose punishing tariffs on goods from China and word from the United Kingdom and Germany that their economies are shrinking," the report states, adding, "Trump advisers fear a weakened economy would hurt him with moderate Republican and independent voters who have been willing to give him a pass on some his incendiary policies and rhetoric."
Race to remember Berlin Wall victims, 30 years on
Where guard towers and barbed wire once stood, runners pounded the 100-mile (160 kilometer) path along the former Berlin Wall this weekend in a race with victims of the Cold War relic at its heart.
On Saturday at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), around 500 runners, started the 8th edition of the Berlin Wall Race, ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Wall's demise this November.
With weary legs, most runners will jog through Saturday night, aiming to reach the city centre stadium which doubles as both start and finish, in the early hours of Sunday.
The race is part ultra-marathon, part tribute to those who died trying to cross the Wall, which the East German communist regime hastily erected in 1961 and stood for 28 years.