Marco Rubio Reacts To Cruz Announcement: ‘He’ll Be A Very Strong Candidate’

Marco Rubio, CPAC 2015
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Sen. Marco Rubio reacted to his Senate colleague Ted Cruz’s announcement that he’s running for president in 2016. The Florida Republican says he expected the news.

“I’m not surprised that Ted’s going to run,” he said in an interview with local Florida radio host Drew Steele, pointing out that the Texas senator had “generated a lot of attention and excitement” during his time in Washington D.C.

“I think he’ll be a very strong candidate,” Rubio said, predicting a strong presidential field for Republicans in 2016.

“I think there’s going to be a number of other people over the next few weeks get in, and as Republicans I think we’re blessed to have such a large number of quality talented people who are willing to compete for the highest office in the land, and from that competition I think we’re going to have a great nominee,” he said.

Rubio said that although he is exploring the idea of running for president, he isn’t prepared to give a final announcement about his intentions. Still, he admits he is “getting close to that point.”

He praised Cruz’s relationship with the conservative grassroots in the party, pointing out that some Republicans appeared almost embarrassed by them.

“I think there’s constantly a battle – at some point – among some in our party, I should say, who are embarrassed by the grassroots, or conservative elements of our party and you can see it in their body language and the way they discuss the issue,” he said, without naming names.

Instead of being embarrassed, Rubio asserted, it was important for Republican presidential candidates to celebrate their conservative supporters.

“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. On the contrary, we should be proud of the fact that we have millions and millions of every day Americans who have no financial interest in government, other than having a country that’s well run and secure for their future,” he said.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Rubio revealed yesterday that Cruz had spoken to him last week about announcing his run for president.

“I spoke to him last week and I never had any doubt that he was seriously exploring the opportunity of running,” he said according to Politico. “He politically doesn’t walk away from anything for doing it.”