Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) got the endorsement of another one of his colleagues as Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) threw his support behind Rubio’s presidential bid.
That brings Rubio’s upper chamber endorsements up to six, including Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who endorsed after Rubio came in third in the Iowa caucuses this week.
Toomey announced his support on CNN this afternoon, saying that last week he called Rubio and said, “Marco, I want to help you any way I can.”
“I want to help you become the next president of the United States. I’m endorsing his candidacy and I’m very optimistic about his prospects,” Toomey said.
Asked why Rubio was a better pick than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the Pennsylvania senator replied, “You know, we face a huge national security crisis, obviously emanating from the Middle East. There is tension all around the world. I think Marco has demonstrated a clear understanding.”
“He’s done the hard work. He’s very knowledgeable, thoughtful. He’s a smart guy. He’s demonstrated the leadership. You know, domestically I think we’ve sometimes have a crisis of confidence,” Toomey continued. “And Marco has an extraordinary ability, I think, to communicate and to inspire people. I think he’s going to be a really strong leader.”
Toomey dismissed Jeb Bush’s charge that Cruz and Rubio haven’t had to make any tough decisions.
“Well, I think he has made some tough decisions. I think Marco’s leadership in trying to make sure we would retain the abilities that the NSA had to keep us safe was an important voice and he was on the right side of that,” he said.
“I think he’s been a very important leader on foreign policy generally. Look, he’s got a history of this. He was elected to lead the House of Representatives in Florida. Took on the establishment in Florida when there was a Republican governor who wasn’t really a Republican governor.” That was Charlie Crist.
Toomey predicted Rubio would perform “extremely well in Pennsylvania, as he will across the country.”
“But my real motivation is I think he’s going to be a really good president,” he added.
Toomey voted against the Gang of Eight immigration bill crafted by Rubio and a bipartisan group of senators.
“But as you know, Marco has come to the conclusion that that’s not the right way to go forward. So we’re in agreement now on how to go forward. I think many of the other candidates in this field have also changed their minds over various aspects of immigration because it’s a tough, complicated, difficult topic,” he said.
Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) back Bush. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Cruz has no upper chamber endorsements.
Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) supported Mike Huckabee, who dropped out this week. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) backed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who dropped out of the presidential race today.