WASHINGTON — Hundreds of tea partiers gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol Wednesday for the “Audit the IRS” rally to speak out against the Internal Revenue Service, Obamacare and … Marco Rubio.
“I’m very disappointed,” tea party protester Michael Minaides said. “I think he’s naive. He’s believing the rhetoric and false promises that got us where we are, so I’m disappointed.”
Formerly referred to as the “crown prince” of the tea party, the Republican senator from Florida has lost considerable favor with the conservative movement since he began pushing the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill.
In multiple interviews, tea party activists who gathered here Wednesday described how the reputation of Rubio, a 2016 presidential hopeful, has been damaged, even as they praised rising stars in the movement such as Sens. Rand Paul from Kentucky and Ted Cruz from Texas.
“I had been very proud of [Rubio] and thought he could be our next really good conservative presidential candidate, but as it stands right now I would not vote for him right now,” tea party protester Beth Walker said. “I’m really disgusted with his amnesty and no securing of the borders.”
Participants in the rally, which featured rousing speeches by Paul, Cruz and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman, voiced their disenchantment with politicians who are solely interested in talking points and not in the plight of the American people. Many see Rubio as one such politician who has become caught up in politics as usual.
“If Rubio wants to go off the deep end, hopefully he gets on the right path,” a protester identifying himself as Bill said. “He may have got a position, got a seat. Once you go through the doors of this Capitol, you get corrupted almost in a heartbeat. Let’s just hope he gets back to the people, get’s connected with the people, finds out what it’s really about. He needs to talk to the people, not the politicians.”