As part of a more than ten minute speech passionately denouncing Donald Trump, Marco Rubio breaks down and admits that he may not ever support Trump as the Republican Party's presidential nominee, even though he signed a Republican Party pledge to do so. "It's getting harder every day," he said.
The Florida senator also defended President Obama from claims Trump made blaming him for violent protests last night in Chicago, which he also says were "highly organized."
"This is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of anger and bitterness and frustration," Rubio said about last night's violence in Chicago. "And I think we all need to take a step back, and ask ourselves, are we contributing to this? Because if this continues, this county will be continuing to be ripped apart at the seams, and we will be incapable of solving any major issues we have..."
"Look," Rubio said. "Barack Obama has used divisive language as well --I admit-- but he hasn't called people in the crowd to beat people up."
"He has divided Americans among, like class warfare, and things of that nature," Rubio said about the president. "But I don't think he bears any responsibility for last night."
"A lot of what you saw last night was Obama," Trump said this morning.
MARCO RUBIO: I think we've all had a chance to look at the rhetoric coming from the presidential frontrunner in this campaign, this is a man who in rallies has told supporters to beat up people in the crowd, and he'll pay their legal fees. Someone who encouraged people in the audience to 'rough up' anyone who stands up in the audience and says something they don't like.
I think the media bears some responsibility. For too long, those comments were ignored, they thought they were cute, he's gotten an extraordinary amount of coverage. Every time Donald Trump offends someone, says something ridiculous, and it has only elevated him even more. So I think everyone bears responsibility for what is happening, but the result is this is what society looks like when everyone says whatever the heck they want.
And everyone just goes around saying I'm going to speak my mind, and if I'm angry I'm going to say or do anything I want. Well there are other people that are angry too. And if they speak out too and say whatever they want, the result is called chaos, it is called anarchy. And that is what we are careening towards in the political process.
The great thing about this country is we settle our differences in this country at the ballot box, not with guns or bayonets or violence. And you wonder whether we're headed in a different direction today where we are no longer able or capable of having differences of opinion, and protests become a license to take on your opponents physically. I think, forget about the election, there's a broader issue in our country.
This is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of anger and bitterness and frustration, and I think we all need to take a step back, and ask ourselves, are we contributing to this? Because if this continues, this county will be continuing to be ripped apart at the seams, and we will be incapable of solving any major issues we have...
QUESTION: What do you think this means for the future of the Republican Party?
MARCO RUBIO: I think the question is what does it mean for the future of America. Not just the Republican Party.
Look. Barack Obama has used divisive language as well --I will admit-- but he hasn't called people in the crowd to beat people up. But he has divided Americans among, like class warfare and things of that nature. I don't think he bears any responsibility for last night. There's real frustration in America. There's people in this country who are angry because they're working really hard or the jobs are bad... but the job of a leader is not to stoke that anger, the job of a leader is to address the causes of those issues and try to solve it. Not to try to stoke that anger so they try to vote for you.
Not just Chicago, put that aside for a moment. The broader anger that now exists in American political discourse is a direct result of the fact that words have consequences. That when you run for president of the United States, or when you are president, whatever one, you can't just take on the attitude that you can say whatever you want. It has real life consequences for people in this country and all over the world.
You saw those images last night of people getting in their face, divided up among racial lines in many cases, police officers bleeding from the head, like in the 1960s, and we're going backwards here. This is a frightening grotesque and disturbing development in American politics.
QUESTION: So should Donald Trump's message be to his supporters? Should he tell them to stop?
RUBIO: A Trump supporter sucker punched a man at an event. Donald Trump has yet to condemn it. After the man was released from jail, he said, next time I'll kill him, he still has not condemned it. So it tells you, in many ways, he doesn't want to say anything to his supporters because he doesn't want to turn them off, because he understands the reason they are attracted to him is this anger. The problem is leadership has never been about taking peoples' anger and using it to get them to vote for you. If it is, it is a dangerous style of leadership... Instead of manipulating their anger so they become your donor, your voter, your supporter.
So I think Donald Trump needs to ask, when is he going to start condemning this stuff? Instead all he is saying is "these are really bad dudes," almost justifying... he understands that the crowd like to rough them up. That sort of thing bleeds out into the broader political debate. And I want to be clear.
The protesters in Chicago were not blameless. They were there to be agitators, they were there just to create a ruckus. I know the type... others were there, part of interest groups, Chicago is the city that is teeming with paid protesters. You don't have a right to say I don't like what someone is doing so I'm going to blow up their event. You see this on college campuses. The left bears responsibility as well, but this boiling point we have now reached has been fed largely by the fact that we have a frontrunner in my party who has fed into language that basically justifies physically assaulting people who disagree with you...
QUESTION: Senator, two quick things. Will you still support him if he's the nominee and a lot of what you just described happened before Thursday night. You were asked Thursday night essentially about tone, about how he's been comporting himself on the trail. Why not confront him face to face or have you behind backstage perhaps, talked to him about that?
MARCO RUBIO: Behind stage we basically are interacting for 15 seconds before we walk on the stage. So that's that. As far as -- I did. I was asked a question about his comments Islam and I said exactly what I said to you right now and that is that presidents can't just say whatever they want. I described the consequences that it has. How are you going to be the commander in chief of the United States armed forces when you have men and women of the muslim faith who serve us in uniform who could be killed in action? How are you going to be commander in chief when you sew that our men and women in uniform have people there working with all over the world who are Muslim, who have taken great sacrifices at our behalf? There is a doctor in Pakistan, a muslim, who was involved in aiding the United States or according to open press reports, and in our efforts to capture Osama bin Laden who is a muslim. What do you say to him? He hated America. He's in jail today in Pakistan.
There are people who died who are are Muslims who have helped the United States as interpreter, servicemen and women in United States who will tell you they were injured in combat and muslim families took them home and sheltered them until help could arrive... And I did say that at the debate.
QUESTION: Would you support him as the nominee if he's the nominee?
RUBIO: I don't know. I mean, I already talked about the fact that I think Hillary Clinton would be terrible for this country, but the fact that you're even asking me that question, I still at this moment continue and tend to support the Republican nominee, but getting harder every day.
QUESTION: Senator, do you think you will win in Florida on Tuesday and if not will your campaign continue?
RUBIO: I'm focused on winning Florida. I haven't thought about Wednesday.