Despite two weeks of vicious invective between the two, Republican front-runner Donald Trump Wednesday refused to rule out taking Sen. Marco Rubio as his running mate.
Trump, who appeared today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, indicated Rubio could have a chance at the second spot if he drops out of the race before the Florida primary next Tuesday.
“Sure, sure and he’s got a lot of talent. I just don’t want to say that yet,” Trump said when pressed by host Joe Scarborough if he would consider Rubio if he suspend his campaign before Florida. “I have a lot of respect for him, he’s got great talent, I just don’t want to say that yet,” Trump said.
What was left unclear was whether Trump, the famous dealmaker, is seriously considering Rubio or dangling the VP opportunity as an incentive for Rubio to get out of the race. Trump very much needs to triumph in winner-take-all Florida and grab its 99 delegate to stay on a path to winning the nomination outright before the convention.
Trump claimed that if Rubio loses his home state of Florida, he would be such damaged goods that nobody would want him as vice president.
“If he runs and loses, and I don’t think he’d win right now, but if he runs and loses, he will never be able to do anything very big politically in Florida. I certainly don’t think he would be considered by anybody as a vice president,” Trump said. “He’s got a very big decision to make.”
Rubio is trailing in Florida polls, is performing poorly all over the country, and may be on track to be upended in the Sunshine state.
Trump’s outreach to Rubio may be part of an evolving strategy to portray himself as a unifier, a theme he struck during a press conference Tuesday evening after winning the Mississippi and Michigan primaries.
A version of the piece also appears on LifeZette.