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Joe Henderson: Donald Trump was right about Marco Rubio

in 2017/Top Headlines by

I can’t believe I am saying this, but Donald Trump was right – at least about Marco Rubio. He is “Little Marco.” He is terrified in the face of potential retaliation from Trump’s legion of loon if he publicly abandons the Republican nominee for president.

In a statement released Tuesday, Rubio continued trying to have it both ways.

“I have consistently rejected his offensive rhetoric and behavior. I disagree with him on many things, but I disagree with his opponent on virtually everything,” he said. “I wish we had better choices for president. But I do not want Hillary Clinton to be our next president. And, therefore, my position has not changed.”

That’s not exactly a chapter from “Profiles in Courage.”

And what if Trump somehow wins the presidency and starts making good on his threats to run his administration like a third-world dictator? Will Rubio stand up and call the insanity for what it is?

Or will he obediently abandon principles of common decency I believe he has and go along with attempted mass deportations, military threats, suspension of civil rights, and all the other stuff Trump has promised on the campaign trail?

I keep hearing from Rubio supporters that he is the new face of Republican conservatism, that he is a dynamic visionary, possessing a once-in-a-generation mind that can lead America out of the morass.

I hear it. But I also see how he melted in the primary campaign heat. I see statements like the one Rubio just made.

It doesn’t jibe.

Rubio doesn’t even appear to want the job he is now campaigning for, at least not much. While running to keep a vital swing-state Senate seat from Democratic hands makes political sense, it does nothing to affect the lives of average Floridians.

But, OK, this isn’t the only state where that is happening. That’s partisan party politics and both sides play that game. Rubio’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, is deeply flawed too.

Is there an actual leader on the Senate ballot?

Anywhere?

If Rubio’s aim is to run again for president in four years, playing along with this game of charades with Donald Trump is not the way to go. If Trump, as expected, gets thumped at the polls, he might take Rubio and other Republicans down with him anyway.

As a face of opposition, Rubio would at least have a solid base of “I told you so” to rebuild his career. That’s better than the fate that awaits those who stood with Trump. They will wear that scarlet “T” for the rest of their political lives.

Rubio could have followed the lead of Arizona Sen. John McCain and said he just can’t vote for Trump. He could have followed the course of action when confronted by a bully like this: Take two hands and shove the bully, hard, in his chest.

Given his oratorical skill, Rubio could have become the face of commonsense Republican opposition to the inmate running their asylum. The kind of insanity we’re seeing now won’t last.

But supporting Trump? Little does Marco seem to know, but that lasts forever.

Joe Henderson has had a 45-year career in newspapers, including the last nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. He covered a large variety of things, primarily in sports but also including hard news. The two intertwined in the decade-long search to bring Major League Baseball to the area. Henderson was also City Hall reporter for two years and covered all sides of the sales tax issue that ultimately led to the construction of Raymond James Stadium. He served as a full-time sports columnist for about 10 years before moving to the metro news columnist for the last 4 ½ years. Henderson has numerous local, state and national writing awards. He has been married to his wife, Elaine, for nearly 35 years and has two grown sons – Ben and Patrick.

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