When Marco Rubio rose to national prominence in 2010, many conservatives believed he’d have a glorious, golden future. He was charismatic, rebellious, and a staunch conservative—or so we thought. Amazingly, he combined those attributes with a Reagan-like optimism, something few modern Republicans are able to do.
Then came the Gang of 8. Rubio had railed against amnesty as a Tea Party candidate, but once in Washington he quickly changed his tune. Many conservatives considered that a deadly sin, and rightfully so. It proved that he was not a man of his word. And that’s extremely problematic, especially at a time when conservatives are begging for a leader with a spine; someone who’s willing to stand alone to do the right thing.
During his campaign, we got to meet the old Rubio again. He was outspoken, charismatic and, perhaps most importantly, he took a strong stand against Donald Trump, the con man pretending to be a conservative. Let’s look at some of the things he said about the man who was then the frontrunner:
In addition to repeatedly calling Trump a “con artist,” Rubio: predicted that a Trump presidency would bring “chaos”; said Trump was “wholly unprepared to be president”; and warned about handing over control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to an “erratic individual” and a “lunatic.”
Truer words have seldom been spoken. Sadly, however, now that he’s out of the race and Trump has become the presumptive nominee, Rubio once again proves that, when it truly comes down to it, he’s not half the man he pretends to be, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper:
“Look, my policy differences with Donald Trump — I spent 11 months talking about them. So I think they’re well understood,” Rubio told Tapper. “That said … I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president. If there’s something I can do to help that from happening, and it’s helpful to the cause, I’d most certainly be honored to be considered for that.”
It doesn’t get more ridiculous than this. His differences with Trump weren’t only over “policy.” Quite the opposite. He rightfully pointed out that Trump is a deeply flawed human being; an egotistical maniac who can’t be trusted with the country’s nuclear codes and a man who has no other principles than “what’s in it for me.” How can Rubio suddenly be “honored” to help such a man become president?
The answer is simple: because he has an “R” next to his name. When you boil it all down, that’s the only thing Rubio truly cares about—one’s party affiliation. Trump can be a Democrat in all but name, but Rubio couldn’t care less: he’s officially a Republican so Trump can count on his support. Principles be damned — he’s a member of the same party. Apparently, Rubio believes that trumps everything else.
Although that’s incredibly disappointing, it doesn’t shock me. As a senator, Rubio always sided with the powers that be when it was tough to do the right thing. That’s why Ted Cruz, not Rubio, ended up as the conservative base’s darling in this primary season. We all thought Rubio had redeemed himself—learned and changed—but we know now that not be the case.
Marco Rubio is who he always was, deep down, beneath all the great conservative slogans: a spineless guy who’s willing to do whatever it takes to ingratiate himself with the leaders of his party, even if doing so means he betrays his own base.