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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio's careful criticism of Donald Trump

Marco Rubio carefully issued plenty to criticism of Trump on NBC’s Meet the Press.

AP photo

Marco Rubio carefully issued plenty to criticism of Trump on NBC’s Meet the Press.



Marco Rubio, like some other Republican candidates, is trying not to bash Donald Trump too hard. But Rubio issued plenty of careful criticism of Trump on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“You called his comments offensive and outlandish. That's a lot different than the tone you just took with me right now,” Chuck Todd said regarding Rubio’s earlier reaction to Trump’s proposed Muslim ban.

Rubio: “It's offensive and outlandish in the sense that, for example, it's not going to happen. Number one. I think it violates a lot of the things that we think about our country. But also, the practical reality that in order for us to identify homegrown violent extremism and prevent it or root it out before it takes action, we are going to need the cooperation of Muslim communities in this country."

Rubio is choosing his words carefully becuase he hopes to attract Trump's supporter in the event Trump falls. His comments also reflect how Trump has tapped into an anti-politician mood.

Todd: "Is he qualified at all to be commander-in-chief?"

Rubio: "Again, I just have very strong reservations about what he's expressed up to this point about his understanding on some of these critical issues before our country. He still has another month before the Iowa caucus. So we'll see if we does it."

In the interview, Rubio, a career politician and former speaker of the Florida House, also suggested he’s not part of the “establishment.”

"I don't think it accurately reflects my history. I wouldn't be in the Senate. The establishment didn't want me in the United States Senate. I have consistently voted against many of the things that some people who you would identify as the establishment are for. When I chose to get into this race, I had a lot of people come forward and tell me I shouldn't run, that it wasn't my turn."

He also defended his support of sugar subsidies and called Ted Cruz an "isolationist."

[Last modified: Sunday, December 13, 2015 2:20pm]


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