Speaking to congregants of Temple Beth El synagogue in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday morning, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio promoted rival John Kasich as the most meaningful alternative to frontrunner Donald Trump ahead of the Ohio primary on March 15.
“John Kasich is the only one who can beat Donald Trump in Ohio. If a voter in Ohio is motivated by stopping Donald Trump, I suspect that’s the only choice they can make,” Rubio stated.
The John Kasich campaign did not return the favor of endorsing Mr. Rubio in Florida, but did seize on Rubio’s words to promote Kasich’s viability and suggested this was the GOP establishment turning to the Ohio governor’s bid for the White House.
“We welcome the support of the Rubio campaign,” said Trent Duffy, Kasich spokesperson.
Supporters of the Florida senator were skeptical; some were angry with Rubio’s Ohio strategy.
“Is it gonna work? I don’t know. I will tell you that I do not want to see Donald Trump in the White House,” Rubio supporter Barbara Ampler, told Politico.
In addition to Rubio’s words of support for Kasich, on Saturday, Phil Plummer, Republican Party chairman and Rubio delegate, recorded a “robocall” reaching thousands of Ohio voters and offering Rubio’s blessing of John Kasich.
The recorded message was, in fact, paid for by Kasich’s super PAC.
Senator Rubio is waving a white flag.
In this altruistic and cathartic undertaking, Mr. Rubio acknowledges his campaign has slipped off the rails, but resolves to take one last parting shot at Donald Trump.
Given his current perilous position, lagging badly in the polls and suffering from a string of recent primary defeats, Rubio is attempting to influence results in the Ohio primary with a peculiar tactic.
Although Rubio is not an unlikely crucible of opposition to Mr. Trump, this unusual act of promoting a party rival in the midst of primary season signals a collapse of restrictions against Donald Trump.
Although Mr. Rubio’s implacable hostility at Trump was not unearthed until recently, particularly in debates, he suffered badly for abandoning a conciliatory attitude and is now reduced to opposing Mr. Trump through throwing support to another primary rival likely to exit the race after Tuesday’s primaries.
Rubio is out after Florida; even the most luminous optimist of the Rubio campaign is forced to accept this new reality.
[Politico] [RealClear Politics] [Photo courtesy downtrend.com]