On Monday, Senator Marco Rubio joined the chorus of worrying Republicans when he told Orlando’s WFTV that Donald Trump’s comments about the heritage of Hispanic judge Gonzalo Curiel were wrong and that Trump needs to stop repeating them. Rubio also added that he “warned this was going to happen” in regards to Trump’s controversial comments, but that he would continue to honor his pledge and support Trump as the Republican nominee.
His comments were a bit of a return to the Marco of old, the one who passionately opposed Trump’s candidacy at every turn during the primary process and promised to focus on finding ways to stifle it once it became clear that he would not be the Republican nominee. They come just one week after the senator promised to assist in any way he could in getting Trump to the Oval Office, even going so far as to offer his services as a speaker at the convention, an offer that he is now walking back, saying that he would not speak “on Trump’s behalf” at the convention.
So one must ask, exactly what changed this week? If Rubio is to be believed, Trump’s “wrong” comments regarding Curiel were to be expected. If Trump’s comments and positions “don’t reflect well on the Republican Party and don’t reflect well on the nation” then on what moral foundation does Rubio base his support for Trump?
Oh, right. The “pledge.” The pledge that sixteen other Republican candidates were able to take without hesitation, while Trump demanded exclusive audience with GOP leadership and forced them to agree to a written set of demands regarding his candidacy before he himself would agree to take it. The same pledge that, in March, Trump flatly stated that he no longer had any intention to honor. That pledge.
It’s about time that someone told Senator Rubio (and Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal) that one’s honor is not based strictly on one’s commitment to ill-conceived pledges made months ago in far different circumstances. It is by no means virtuous to knowingly sell one’s own party and country down the river on the basis of honoring such a pledge. Rather, when one demonstrates a record of serious moral apprehension with the character and beliefs of a candidate, it is a much more powerful testament to one’s integrity if they stand by their principles and convictions, even as those in their own party demand they fall in line.
Marco Rubio warned us about Donald Trump. Maybe it’s time that he heeded his own warning.