Despite a “competitive,” if not contentious, 2016 GOP primary battle against former President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., not only has Trump’s endorsement but they share a mutual respect.
If fact, Rubio will not even challenge Trump, who he called “the most popular and most influential Republican in America.”
“I think he’ll still be that in ’22 and ’24, and if decides to run for the president and the nomination, he’s going to be the party’s nominee,” Rubio told Newsmax TV’s “Greg Kelly Reports” on Wednesday. “That’s the way I see it.
“He hasn’t made that decision. It’s still a long way down the road, but if Donald Trump decides to run in 2024 again, he’s going to be the Republican nominee, and I think almost everyone that I’ve talked to would agree with that.”
Rubio recently received Trump’s endorsement for his Senate reelection campaign, noting the Trump name carries weight, and votes, in Florida.
“We worked very well together with the Trump White House and the president,” Rubio told host Greg Kelly. “We did a lot of positive things together, a very productive time and a very good working relationship.
“And, plus, this is one of the things we don’t pick up on: This is an extra special endorsement because he’s a resident and voter in Florida. So, I don’t just need his endorsement, I need his vote and the votes of all his family who are also moving to Florida.”
As for the current president, Rubio is fearing the withdrawal from Afghanistan might allow al-Qaida terror groups to “reconstitute” in the country and threaten security of Americans again.
“The question is No. 1 how to we do it in a way that is safe for our men and women who are still stationed there,” Rubio said. “And second, what we really need to keep our eye on, if we’re not going to be in Afghanistan, there’s a high likelihood – and I hope I’m wrong about this – but there’s a very high likelihood that the Taliban retakes that country almost entirely or partially.
“And, once they do, al-Qaida is going to return and establish a safe haven there. And we know what happened the last time they had a safe haven in Afghanistan.”
Rubio acknowledged the pullout was the work of President Trump, but there needs to be a plan to address a potential vacuum left for terrorism.
“We need to have a plan on how we’re going to address al-Qaida so they can’t reform, come back together, and all of a sudden 3 or 4 years from now, we’re facing new threats here in the homeland and other parts of the world,” Rubio said. “That really needs to be our focus now. The decision to leave was made under the Trump administration.
“Now we just need to make sure we do what we can so al-Qaida can’t reconstitute and come after us like they did on Sept. 11, 2001.”
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