He says it wasn’t a credit card, but a charge card. In fact, a charge card is a type of a credit card, but he’s on point drawing a technical difference between the two. Rubio has used the term “credit card” in his 2012 memoir in reference to his corporate card charges, and it is interesting that he has begun making this distinction in interviews. (His aide told the New York Times that Rubio had adopted a colloquial term for the card for his book.)
Rubio also says the Republican Party “never paid a single personal expense of mine — personal expense.” Notice the emphasis here. There was an instance when Rubio did repay the party for an expense that should not have been charged to the party; he double-billed the party and the state for airline tickets for state business. So, that is one example where he repaid the party rather than paying American Express directly, as he often notes. But technically, it was not for a personal purpose.
We don’t make a judgment call on whether Rubio should have made personal charges, or whether some of the charges the party paid for should have been considered as “party business.” But what readers should remember is that Rubio’s total charges — about $160,000 total on the corporate card — were relatively small compared to other state party officials who ran up $500,000, even $1.3 million, on their party cards. And although other presidential hopefuls, and even media outlets, keep pointing to the February 2010 news coverage that revealed Rubio’s personal charges, subsequent reports by the independent auditor and Florida Ethics Commission are worth reading, because they tell a fuller picture of how the saga unfolded.