Doesn’t work that way, champ. John McCormack writes:
Back in February, Rubio was saying of Trump that we should not hand “the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.” He likened the idea of Trump to the “lunatic in North Korea with nuclear weapons.” Asked by Greta Van Susteren if he really believed Donald Trump “is a con artist who should not get access to nuclear codes,” Rubio said “Absolutely. Absolutely.”
Rubio called Trump “dangerous,” and he was right. If Rubio genuinely feared handing Trump control of nuclear weapons in March, there is no reason he should support him in May.
There’s no way to square these two sentiments, that Trump is dangerously unfit for office on the one hand and that he’s owed unthinking partisan loyalty on the other, and Rubio knows it. Watch the clip and you’ll see him barely even attempt to answer Tapper’s question about it. He keeps droning through the same pat incoherent reply, that his views on Trump are well known and he stands by them but also that he made a pledge to support the nominee and intends to stand by that too. (On the one hand, 2 + 2 = 4, but on the other hand, he took a vow to believe that 2 + 2 = 5.) Somewhere Chris Christie is watching this, chortling about another 30-second scripted speech from Marco. Even some hardcore Rubio fans whom I follow on Twitter were annoyed by it, which is unusual given how devoted his fan base usually is to him. But how could they feel otherwise?
Wait until you get to the part where Tapper tries to pin him down on whether he’ll actually cast his own vote for Trump in November. I intend to support the nominee, Rubio replies. I didn’t ask you about “support,” Tapper counters, I asked if you’ll vote for him. I intend to support the nominee, Rubio reiterates, before adding that he surely won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton. That sounds to me like a guy who intends to vote third-party but can’t bring himself to say so for fear of it turning into an attack ad in the 2020 primary. This is what Rubio’s formerly eloquent criticism of Trump has come to. He’ll make a fine addition to the list of functionaries in the new nationalist GOP. “Secretary of Defense Rubio,” anyone?
Rubio’s just lucky that Tapper didn’t hear the news about Trump selecting a white-nationalist leader as a delegate in California before today’s interview. That would have made this segment even more squirmworthy. Remember this old tweet? Drew McCoy did.
We cannot be a party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 28, 2016
Rest assured, he stands by what he said in that tweet but he made a pledge to support the nominee and blah blah blah blah.
There was some other news today about whether Rubio allies were secretly pushing him for VP at a GOP meeting in Florida (“he would make a great VP and he wants it”) and what the price of that might be and whether maybe Trump was subtweeting him this morning in talking about who is and isn’t under consideration, but who cares. Who cares. Just watch the clips. The first is the Tapper interview; the stuff about Rubio backing Trump comes at the beginning. The second, by special request, is his closing argument before Florida indicting Trump for demagoguery. If you can get these two to square, let me know.
Update: Oh, and here’s the inevitable walkback from Team Trump about naming a white-nationalist delegate. “Database error.”