Note: We’ve revised the “let’s not divide the party” section of this blog to provide more context and to correct an implication that Rubio was directly making that point.
Marco Rubio appears to be warming up to Donald Trump, saying Friday his “performance has improved significantly.” Rubio has also continued to withold an endorsement of Ted Cruz, even though he previously praised him as the conservative in the race.
Last Sunday on Univision Rubio said it appeared Trump will lock down the nomination.
“If he keeps winning delegates like he did the other night in New York, I think he’s going to reach that number,” Rubio said on Al Punto Florida. “But let’s see. There are still other states to go.”
Rubio, who continues to hold onto more than 100 delegates, has said he disagreed with Trump about the delegate system being “rigged.” But Rubio did echo the argument that if Trump is close to 1,237 delegate count, he should get the nod.
“I do think it’s valid to argue to delegates: ‘Look, let’s not divide the party. You have someone here who has all these votes, very close to get 1,237, let’s not ignore the will of the people or they’re going to be angry.’ And delegates may decide that on that reason they decide to vote for Donald Trump. But if they don’t, it’s not illegitimate in any way,” he told Miami radio host Jimmy Cefalo on April 20. “That’s why we elect delegates. That’s the meaning of being a delegate, is choosing a nominee that can win.”
“I’ve always said I’m going to support the Republican nominee, and that’s especially true now that it’s apparent that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic candidate,” Rubio said. “My differences with Donald Trump are well documented … .”
On the Saturday before Florida’s March 15 primary Rubio was less certain about Trump. “I don’t know,” he told the Miami Herald, his voice breaking. “Getting harder every day.”