WATCH: Marco Rubio can't bring himself to say bad things about Donald Trump

Will Donald Trump keep America safe? Marco Rubio doesn't know and really doesn't want to discuss it

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 28, 2016 1:48PM (EDT)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks to media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 22, 2016.  (AP)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks to media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (AP)

Sen. Marco Rubio refused to answer questions on Thursday about whether he thought Donald Trump could keep America safe or serve as a good role model for children.

When reporters at a press conference in Naples, Florida, asked Rubio about the Republican presidential nominee, he did his best to avoid alienating both the factions of the GOP that adore their candidate and those that despise him.

"The military is what keeps us safe," Rubio responded to a question about Trump's ability to protect America. “We have to rebuild our military and Clinton is a supporter of the defense cuts and the sequester which would be damaging to our country.”

Rubio attempted a similar pivot away from Trump's character when asked about whether he'd be a good role model for Rubio's own children.

“People know I have strong disagreements with both candidates in this race,” Rubio replied. "I think Hillary Clinton would be a terrible role model in terms of the things she has done while in office. She destroyed emails and evidence while she was under investigation. And her policies are bad, too."

Despite his own unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Rubio is the favorite to be re-elected.

Democrats have pulled funding from the race, forcing Rubio's opponent, Rep. Patrick Murphy, to fund the rest of his own campaign.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's reservations about the likelihood of ousting Rubio has not stopped other Democratic leaders from denouncing him. When President Obama campaigned on Murphy's behalf in Florida last week, he specifically called out Rubio's earlier denunciations of Trump, contrasting them with Rubio's current waffling.

“How can you call him a con artist and dangerous and object to all the controversial things he says, and then say, I’m still going to vote for him?” Obama said. “Come on, man!”


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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