After losing to businessman Donald Trump in his home state of Florida, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., bowed out of the presidential race on Tuesday.
“We are on the right side but, this year, we are not on the winning side,” Rubio said. “I still remain hopeful and optimistic about America.”
Ripping into “fear and anger” as motivations, Rubio spoke to supporters in Miami on Tuesday night, saying there was a “political storm” which helped lead to Trump’s rise.
“We should have seen this coming," Rubio mused. “People are frustrated."
Rubio mused over the economic turmoil in 2007-08, immigration and foreign policy, insisting they all set the stage for the current political climate. Taking aim at the “political establishment," Rubio called for a healthy “conservative movement” to fight for free market principles, a strong foreign policy and defending traditional values.
On Tuesday night, Rubio announced he was suspending his campaign but did not throw his support behind any of the three Republican candidates still in the race.
After serving four terms in the Florida House, including as speaker, Rubio ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010, defeating then-Gov. Charlie Crist in the Republican primary and eventually chasing him out of the GOP. Rubio is not running for a second term and will be out of the Senate following the general election. During his term in the Senate, Rubio drew fire from the right for his role in the “Gang of Eight” in pushing immigration reform and for his focus on foreign policy.
Rubio placed third in Iowa, claiming some momentum in the first caucus. But that momentum quickly fizzled in New Hampshire as Rubio stumbled badly in a debate when he drew heavy fire from Gov. Chris Christie, R-NJ. Rubio placed fifth in New Hampshire but bounced back to come in second behind Trump in South Carolina.
As Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, claimed big victories, Rubio had a hard time, especially on Super Tuesday. Rubio carried Minnesota, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Rubio placed a distant second in Florida on Tuesday, losing by 18 percent as Trump claimed the 99 delegates on the line in the winner take all primary.
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