A day after delivering a brief video endorsing Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was at a Panhandle VFW hall Thursday echoing some of the same national security themes that dominate the Cleveland gathering.
Rubio, on a weeklong state swing in support of his re-election bid, told several dozen veterans in Panama City Beach that increased defense spending is needed now more than ever, given the threats posed by ISIS.
“America is a peace-loving nation, we don’t want war,” Rubio said. “But history has taught us that weakness is an enemy. And the best way to prevent war is to ensure that our adversaries understand that there’s no war they can afford to get into with us.”
Rubio’s roughly 1 1/2-minute video shown in prime time Wednesday night at the RNC didn’t lavishly praise Trump. But it clearly advanced the nominee over Democrat Hillary Clinton, who the Floridian attacked.
Rubio concluded saying, “It’s time to win in November,” a theme which also could serve the Florida senator, who only decided last month to seek re-election.
Rubio faces Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff and two other long-shot Republicans in an Aug. 30 primary. Five Democrats, lead by U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter and Alan Grayson of Orlando, will vie that day for their party’s nomination to the November election.
Rubio later told reporters that he would decide on a “case-by-case basis” whether to join Trump at any appearances he makes in Florida. But Rubio framed his support for his party’s nominee as an easy one in contrast with Clinton.
“I still have differences,” Rubio said. “I do disagree with Donald on several things. But I disagree with Hillary on virtually every major issue before the country.”
He added, “There’s only two people in the world who are going to be president of the United States in 2017, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. And it can’t be Hillary Clinton.”