On the campaign trail, Marco Rubio painted the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency like some combination of allowing Bernie Madoff and Pol Pot into the White House. A brief selection of words Rubio used to describe Trump include "con man," "dangerous," "strong man," and "catastrophic." He (correctly) called him a defender of white supremacists and someone who should never have his (tiny, tiny) hands on the nuclear codes. Rubio even sold dozens of #NeverTrump products, including mugs and yoga pants.
And now he's voting for him. In an interview with NBC's Today, Rubio confirmed he'll cast his ballot for Trump. Why? Because Rubio is a gigantic walking neon billboard flashing the word "hypocrite" and less a human than a semiconscious blob of amoral political ambition.
Just kidding. He says it's because he signed a pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee and because Hillary is worse than Trump.
"The only other choice then would be to vote for Hillary Clinton or to abstain, both of which would be supportive of her, and I have even more policy differences with her, and I’m even more scared about her being in control of the U.S. government," he told NBC's Savannah Guthrie.
Say what? If you legitimately think a guy is a dictator in the making who is going to nuke the world while using the U.S. government as a giant Ponzi scheme, you don't case a vote for him.
Just ask Jeb Bush, who at least had the dignity to realize the only space for a mainline Republican in this election is on the sidelines, sitting it out altogether. Plenty of other Republicans in Miami have made the same realization, including Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, who announced yesterday he's in the #NeverTrump camp.
Even Norman Braman, the auto magnate who singlehandedly funded Rubio's campaign in the early stages, tells New Times there's zero chance he'll vote for Trump.
"I will not be supporting Donald Trump," Braman says. "I don't know what I'll do on Election Day. But I'm sure of one thing, that I'm not voting for Trump."
Braman, to be fair, does let Rubio off the hook on the technicality of his signed pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. "He signed a pledge. He's just keeping his word," Braman says.
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But others on the right have pointed out that the pledge isn't reason enough to vote for a guy who is — as Rubio said countless times on the trail — too dangerous to be president.
Jay Caruso, a writer at #NeverTrump conservative site RedState, tore into Rubio for hiding behind that reasoning.
Some people will argue that Rubio is holding to his word and the GOP pledge by voting for Trump. I get that, but something has to give. Would you call somebody a liar, con man, thief, and a jerk only turn around and say, “Oh yeah, I’ll go into business with that guy.”
I can “pledge” to do something as well, but the idea that a pledge cannot be broken is nonsense. There needs to be a good faith error on both sides. Donald Trump doesn’t give a crap about anybody else but himself. He wants “teamwork” only when it benefits him. If he hadn’t won the nomination, does anybody really think Trump wouldn’t have broken the pledge? He would have done without apology claiming he did so because other candidates were “being very unfair” to him.
The truth is that from the moment he entered politics as a precocious 26-year-old on the West Miami city commission, Rubio has been a political opportunist first and foremost. Now that Trump is inevitable, Rubio's capitulation was all too predictable.