Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio savaged old rival and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist for his claim that he left the Republican Party due to endemic racism, declaring it “by the end of this election, even Democrats will be embarrassed that Charlie Crist became a Democrat.”
Rubio spoke to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto about Crist — the former Republican governor of Florida now running as a Democrat — and the comments he made on Fusion TV on Tuesday.
Crist denied that he left the party because he was set to lose a Republican Senate primary against Marco Rubio, who went on to win a Senate seat in the 2010 general election.
“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president,” he claimed. “I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”
“I think it’s ridiculous and silly,” Rubio responded, stopping just short of eye-rolling. “Two points I would make. First of all, I’m even cautious to even dignify that with a serious response. My prediction is that by the end of this election, even Democrats will be embarrassed that Charlie Crist became a Democrat.”
“But I would say, if this was in fact how he felt at the time, why didn’t he say it?” Rubio continued. “Why didn’t he say I’m not running as a Republican because i think the Republican Party has become what he accuses it of becoming. And why did he switch to Democrat? Why didn’t he run as an independent? Why didn’t he do that at the time, why did it take him four years to say what he’s saying?”
“It’s not a serious thing, that’s my second point,” the Florida senator continued. “I’ve never met a single Republican activist involved in my campaign that has ever, in my opinion, ever been motivated by race to state their objections.”
“I think it’s absurd, and quite frankly it’s barely worthy of any sort of response,” Rubio scoffed. “But because he’s running for governor of my state, I guess I need to say what I said.”
The Republican senator went on to call Crist a “phony,” and dismissed Cavuto’s point that the Democratic candidate is up in the polls.
“He led in the polls against me too,” Rubio noted. “I think once people start to focus in on the race, and they realize it’s the same Charlie Crist that is running — actually the same guy that’s been basically on every side of every SINGLE issue before the country and the state — I think those numbers are going to change dramatically.”
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