Wednesday on the Fox News Channel, conservative commentator expressed his skepticism of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a candidate for the 2016 GOP nomination, for his aggressive attacks on party front-runner Donald Trump.
In an interview with “Hannity” host Sean Hannity, Buchanan argued that while this may win Rubio short-term successes with the media and political establishment, in the long run, it will hurt his political career.
Partial transcript as follows:
HANNITY: So are Rubio’s attacks turning into a suicide mission? And could it actually ruin his career and destroy and hurt the Republican Party? Here to answer that question, author of the book “The Greatest Comeback,” the original insurgent himself, Patrick J. Buchanan.
Sir, how are you?
PAT BUCHANAN, “THE GREATEST COMEBACK” AUTHOR: Doing fine, Sean.
HANNITY: So I watched Marco in two interviews last night. And I want to be very clear here. For the record, I’ve always liked him. It’s very hard not to like Marco Rubio.
I get the sense that he couldn’t get out the word “con artist,” “fraud,” supporting the KKK, hiring illegal immigrants, Trump University over and over enough, probably a preview of tomorrow’s debate. Here’s my question. Do you agree with me that probably this is — that this is not Marco we’ve known, and B, that he’s probably being influenced and he’s the hired gun now to take out the insurgency?
BUCHANAN: I think he’s made a calculated decision that he’s going to be the — he’s getting the applause of the media establishment. He’s getting the applause of the establishment. He’s tearing down Donald Trump. The establishment wants him destroyed. Marco has volunteered to be the instrument of destruction.
I agree with you in the longer run, Marco is not going to be the nominee. I don’t think the Trump people at the convention would ever support Marco Rubio after these kinds of attacks. But in the short run, Sean,there’s no doubt about it. It is an effective tactic. It’s got Marco tremendous amounts of attention he never otherwise got.
Let me just tell you about the strategy they had in Virginia. They ran all these savage attack ads on Trump again and again and again. That’s where I live. Marco is calling him a scam artist, a con artist. And Marco closed the gap there. That’s the strategy between now and the ides of March.
HANNITY: OK. But if you look, Pat, you know, he got the votes — most of his votes in northern Virginia. That is not an area where any Republican is going to really do well on — in the general election, same in Minnesota. I mean, he’s looking in Minneapolis/St. Paul, not exactly Republican-friendly territory here.
So what is his goal here? In other words, is his goal…
BUCHANAN: This is not…
HANNITY: … to win or is his goal to prevent Trump or Cruz from getting 1,237 delegates?
BUCHANAN: His goal — this is not a — you’re right. This is not a general election strategy. It’s not even a good nomination strategy. But it is a good strategy if the objective of you and your supporters is to bring down Trump, no matter how you have to do it, because we can’t accept him. And there’s a lot in the media, there are a lot here in the establishment in Washington, there are a lot of folks in the party who would be delighted to see Donald Trump taken down.
HANNITY: But that’s what — and you don’t think there’s been back door meetings and closed door meetings and smoke-filled rooms and he’s not and he’s not getting support and being offered money to do all this? Maybe it’s my conspiratorial mind. I think this is orchestrated, well funded and well organized.
BUCHANAN: Right. I think this helps Marco in the short run. In the long run, I agree with you. I think it may terminate the political career. And what I don’t understand is if they manage to destroy Donald Trump, who do they think’s going to get the nomination, Marco?
HANNITY: Ted Cruz.
BUCHANAN: Well, the likelihood is Ted Cruz, and the establishment doesn’t like him anymore than…
HANNITY: They hate him, too.
BUCHANAN: … they like…
HANNITY: They hate them both, and they hate you, also, Pat.
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