Marco Rubio's incredible cowardice, in one video clip
Trump's one-time critic now won't even admit it was wrong for the former president to try to overturn his election loss.
In the span of six years, Sen. Marco Rubio went from comparing Trump to a “third-world strongman” to repeatedly refusing to condemn him for trying to end American democracy.
He did the latter on Sunday’s installment of Face the Nation, when host Margaret Brennan asked for Rubio’s thoughts about former VP Mike Pence’s rebuke of Trump. Pence called Trump’s effort install himself as president despite having lost the election “wrong” and “un-American” during a speech to the Federalist Society last Friday; Rubio, apparently, doesn’t necessarily agree.
“Senator, we invited you to come on the show to talk about China. I want to get there, but I have to start here: Do you agree with Mike Pence?” Brennan asked him.
But Rubio not only stopped far short of agreeing with Pence that overthrowing elections is bad, he also indicated he hopes Trump will become president again, while making a flailing attack on Vice President Kamala Harris.
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“Well, if President Trump runs for reelection, I believe he would defeat Joe Biden, and I don’t want Kamala Harris to have the power as vice president to overturn that election, and that’s the same thing that I concluded back in January of 2021,” Rubio said.
“So Donald Trump was wrong?” Brennan followed up.
“Well, as I said, I just don’t think the vice president has that power, because if the vice president has that power, Donald Trump would defeat Joe Biden in four years or two years, and then Kamala Harris can decide to overturn the election,” he replied. “I don’t want to wind up there.”
Rubio’s equivocations on Sunday stand in remarkable contrast to what he said when he was campaigning against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. I was reminded of this when a reader posted a clip of Rubio on CNN in March 2016 in my replies; it has very similar energy to that infamous tweet Lindsey Graham posted just a few months later about how “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it.”
Rubio said back then:
No matter what happens in this election, for years to come, there are many people on the right, in the media, and voters at large that are gonna be having to explain and justify how they fell into this trap of supporting Donald Trump, because this is not gonna end well one way or the other. He is gonna be the nominee and he is going to lose, or he’ll have thrown this party into its more chaotic and divisive period ever.
Sunday’s interview was a remarkable display of cowardice from someone who at least pretended to know better not that long ago. It was also the latest indication that Trump won’t face significant resistance within the Republican Party if he again seeks the its presidential nomination in 2024.
The 2016 version of Rubio was right about everything but Trump losing. And, in reality, the Trump presidency was even worse than he had predicted, considering it ended in a violent coup attempt. But the Republican Party’s submission to Trump is now so complete that senators like Rubio, who once strutted around declaring themselves defenders of democracy, are not merely unwilling to condemn blatant authoritarianism — they’re also running interference for it while telegraphing they’ll support Trump’s next bid for power.
While the contrast between what Rubio said then and what Rubio is saying now is especially jarring, he wasn’t the only Republican senator who struggled to respond to Pence’s belated condemnation of Trump’s coup attempt.
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) responded to Pence’s comments by acknowledging he doesn’t think vice presidents should have the power to overturn elections. But he then immediately changed the topic by saying “my focus is on the future” and added that his constituents don’t care about the 2020 election anyway. (Recent polling actually indicates that more than 70 percent of Republicans don’t believe Biden’s victory was legitimate.)
It’s notable that Fox News Sunday even mentioned Pence’s denunciation of his old boss, considering his comments weren’t brought up a single time on Fox News or Fox Business on Saturday, or during any of the primetime shows on Friday. And while Fox would certainly be all over a Democratic vice president rebuking a Democratic president, considering the network’s role as a GOP propaganda organ, it isn’t really a surprise that they’re mostly ignoring Pence’s rebuke of Trump — after all, as Rubio’s interview made clear, Republicans are having a hard time defending the indefensible.
It was a rough weekend for Fox News
On his Fox News show on Saturday, host Dan Bongino turned reality on its head by turning a list of the healthiest US cities into a graphic of the “TOP TEN MOST UNHEALTHY U.S. CITIES.”
Fox News later told the Daily Beast that they “regret the error” and said Bongino will be issuing a correction on his next show.
Then, on Sunday, Fox News’s Twitter account tried to twist a story about a comedian collapsing on stage into an indictment of Covid vaccines, even though there doesn’t appear to be any connection between the comedian’s vaccination status and the incident.
That tweet, unlike one the Fox News account posted last week aggregating a fake quote to criticize LeBron James, is still up as this is written on Monday morning.
That’s it for today!
I’ll be back with more tomorrow.