But he probably feels out of place now. It’s not that Rubio has any ideological objection to anything the Trump administration is doing, because it’s been consistently conservative and Rubio is himself extremely conservative. But he isn’t going to be one of those rare Jeff Flake-types, who offer unrestrained criticism of Trump’s erratic governing style and personal repugnance on their way to retirement. Rubio is only 46, and he’ll almost certainly be running for president again in 2024. He knows as well as anyone that he’ll need to win those Trump voters over.
Yet he’s also a politician who would like to have wide appeal, and clearly wants to show how reasonable and open-minded he can be. If he were a columnist instead of a senator, he might well be one of the “Never Trump” crowd, those conservatives who maintain for reasons of ideological purity or commitment to propriety that they simply will not tolerate this vulgarian president. Those media figures, whether more toward the center or more to the right, will emerge from the Trump era in terrific shape, their ideological commitment intact and their stature elevated by liberals always looking for reasonable conservatives they can talk to.