Like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio went from being a blistering critic of Donald Trump during the 2016 GOP presidential primary to being someone who rarely criticizes the president. And a columnist in Rubio’s back yard, Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times, lambasts the Florida Republican in a blistering opinion piece published with the headline, “Will Marco Rubio Ever Stand Up to Donald Trump?”
Denouncing Rubio as a “cowering apologist” for Trump, Ruth asserts, “You would think for the $174,000-a-year one gets for the part-time job of U.S. senator, every now and then Rubio might actually stand for something, anything, remotely resembling a principle. Too heavy a lift?”
Trump is presently facing an impeachment inquiry for trying to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, during a July 25 phone conversation. On top of that, Trump publicly urged the Chinese government to investigate the Bidens.
“In highly technical legal terms,” Ruth writes, “soliciting a foreign power to become your bagman is considered really, really stupid. And illegal. But not to Master Marco, whose forthcoming memoir ought to be titled, ‘Profiles in Obsequiousness.’ Rubio had no problem with Trump trying to enlist China’s Xi Jinping as his Sancho Panza of corruption.”
Rubio insisted that journalists shouldn’t take Trump’s China-related comment seriously, but Ruth disagrees.
“Rubio dismissing a plea to enlist the help of China to hold on to power as the handiwork of a jesting Trump allowed the senator to avoid the distasteful prospect of exhibiting some scruples and incurring the president’s ire,” Ruth stresses.
Many Republicans in Congress are terrified at the prospect of facing a GOP primary challenge in 2020 should they say anything critical of Trump. But unlike Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Sen. Martha McSally or Arizona or Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Rubio won’t need to seek reelection until 2022 .
“Apparently, even three years away from facing the voters isn’t enough time to grow a spine or find a conscience,” Ruth says of Rubio. And he emphasizes that the Florida senator should spend more time thinking about the U.S. Constitution and less time worrying about the possibility of offending fellow Republicans.
“Upon ascending to the U.S. Senate,” Ruth writes, “Rubio took an oath of office swearing to protect and defend the United States against enemies, foreign and domestic. He pledged his fealty to the U.S. Constitution — not to Trump or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or the Republican Party or Sean Hannity or Fox News.”