Senator Marco Rubio took a long time by GOP standards to fall in line behind Donald Trump‘s most recent persecution claim. Days after most MAGA Republicans had already backed the former president’s latest “witch hunt” narrative, Rubio insinuated that the former president is being treated like a deposed Nicaraguan despot.
“In Russia, Venezuela & Nicaragua prosecutors are used as political weapons to harass, arrest & disqualify opposition political candidates,” Rubio tweeted. “I pray we will never tolerate, much less support either party bringing these third world tactics here to America.”
In Russia,Venezuela & Nicaragua prosecutors are used as political weapons to harass, arrest & disqualify opposition political candidates— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 20, 2023
I pray we will never tolerate, much less support either party bringing these third world tactics here to America
Rubio carefully avoids mentioning names in his prayer, targeting instead the malign practice of weaponizing a justice system to achieve political ends. (Note: Rubio offers no evidence that this is happening in the United States; he offers only his prayer that it never does.)
Despite Rubio’s failure to mention names, the Senator’s statement clearly references Donald Trump’s prospective legal peril and the former president’s assertion that he will be arrested this week.
With his tweet, Rubio lends his support to Trump’s perennial claim that actions taken against him are invariably a political “witch hunt” — including his two impeachments and now, specifically, a potentially pending charge that could be brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump stirred up his supporters this weekend by calling for protests against his arrest. MAGA operatives in the field have been swift in organizing protests as requested, and high-level GOP members led by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy wasted no time in condemning Bragg’s due process as political hackery.
(Note: Bragg, in a previous case, declined to pursue charges against Trump for financial crimes related to a tax fraud scheme at The Trump Organization.)
Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump.— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 18, 2023
I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by… https://t.co/elpbh7LeWn
Rubio, however, waited days to fall in line and get behind Trump’s political persecution narrative, at least on Twitter. And even when he did so, the Senator left wiggle room by not using Trump’s name. It begs the question: is Rubio that rare hybrid creature, half-MAGA, half-establishment GOP?
Even Mike Pence, whose relationship with Trump is in tatters, helped foment the persecution narrative using Trump’s name.
“I have no doubt that President Trump knows how to take care of himself,” Pence said. “And he will. But that doesn’t make it right to have a politically charged prosecution of a former president of the United States of America.”
Back in 2016, Rubio warned that a “con artist is about to take over the Republican Party.” (See video below.) Rubio at that time both did and did not foresee Mr. Trump receiving quite so much support from inside the GOP.
Amends of sorts were made in the aftermath of Trump’s victory, and in 2022 Trump stumped for Rubio as he ran for re-election.