BY STEVEN LEMONGELLO
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has a message for voters: You wanted Donald Trump? You got him.
“I don’t understand why people are that shocked,” the Florida Republican told the CBS show “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “This president ran a very unconventional campaign. I was there for a big part of it at the beginning alongside, being one of his competitors.”
And, he added, “that’s what the American people voted for. And, in essence, this White House is not much different from the campaign. People got what they voted for. They elected him.”
Criticized for stance
Rubio, who pledged during the 2016 campaign that he would be a watchdog in the Senate no matter who won the presidential race, Trump or Hillary Clinton, has been criticized since Trump’s victory for not forcefully standing up enough to the president.
The senator voiced concerns about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Russia ties but still voted to confirm him. He has also been cautious about the ongoing investigation into Russian hacking of the election and its potential connection to the Trump campaign, despite revealing that his own campaign was targeted by hackers.
Rubio told Pinellas County Republicans on May 19 that if there were any constitutional violations, he “will be the first person who would say it,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
But most of his speech, given just two days after an independent counsel was appointed to investigate the Trump campaign’s Russia ties, criticized the news media despite acknowledging its importance in recent revelations.
“Justice is rooted in the truth, and the truth is rooted in the facts,” Rubio said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “This week we are asked to take positions on various issues, and you know what they are because they are in the press every day. Did the president do this? Did the president say that? Wouldn’t it behoove us to first know the facts?”
In his CBS appearance, Rubio had some advice for the embattled Trump administration.
“I do think the White House would benefit from some systems in place that perhaps avoids some of the unnecessary friction points that come up on a daily basis,” Rubio said. “But this is also the political environment we now live in too. Politics are covered this way.”
Politicians, he said, “also behave in this way because they know they can get attention for saying things one way or the other. It’s just the way politics has moved. I don’t think it’s good for the country, but that’s where we’re headed for now, apparently.”
Jeb Bush responds
Rubio wasn’t the only former Trump primary opponent from Florida to chime in on the president.
“When I ran for office, I said he (was) a chaos candidate and would be a chaos president,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told CNN on May 19. “Unfortunately, so far chaos organizes the presidency right now.”
Bush, who was famously nicknamed “Low Energy” by Trump, had not commented Monday on reports of White House staff describing Trump as “exhausted” days into his international trip.