Despite Donald Trump’s criticism of the family of a fallen Muslim U.S. Army captain, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he could not imagine rescinding his endorsement of the Republican presidential nominee.
“That would mean supporting Hillary Clinton, who I would never be able to support,” Rubio said Tuesday.
The former GOP presidential candidate joined a cadre of top Republicans denouncing Trump’s criticism of the soldier’s father, Khizr Khan, and Trump’s suggestion that Khan might have forbidden his wife from speaking last week at the Democratic National Convention, where Khan gave a speech sharply critical of Trump.
That would mean supporting Hillary Clinton who I would never be able to support.
Sen. Marco Rubio
Describing the late Capt. Humayun Khan and his family as heroes, Rubio called Trump’s comments “unfortunate” and the situation “bad.” He said he hoped the campaign and party could emerge from controversy because “that family deserves our respect.”
This is not the first time Rubio has criticized Trump for comments about Islam and Muslim Americans in uniform.
During a March presidential debate in Miami, Rubio drew a contrast between Muslim terrorists and those who had served in the nation’s military.
“There’s no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world,” Rubio said then. “I can also tell you if you go to any national cemetery, especially Arlington, you’re going to see crescent moons there. If you go anywhere in the world you’re going to see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims.”
Several Republicans, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have criticized Trump and said the comments didn’t reflect the views of the Republican Party.
“While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us,” McCain wrote in a lengthy letter.
While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.
Sen. John McCain
But none have rescinded their endorsement of Trump, and Rubio said he wouldn’t, either – underscoring the ambivalence of many Republicans toward their standard-bearer this year, but also the reluctance of some to do anything to benefit Clinton’s candidacy.
“At the end of the day, despite the fact I disagree with Donald on a number of things, including his statement on this, I disagree with her on everything,” Rubio said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article gave the wrong day for Rubio’s remarks. He spoke Tuesday. It also misspelled the first name of Sen. Lindsey Graham.