clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Marco Rubio on the end of his campaign: “We should have seen this coming"

Marco Rubio suspended his presidential campaign in a heartfelt speech on Tuesday night after suffering a crushing defeat to Donald Trump in Rubio's home state of Florida.

As he has throughout the campaign, Rubio spent much of the speech wrestling with the implications of Trump's rise in the Republican Party.

"America is in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami. And we should have seen this coming," Rubio said. "Look, people are angry and people are really frustrated."

While not mentioning Trump's name, Rubio attacked the Republican frontrunner and called for a more inclusive party that's "built on principles and ideas, not on anger, not on preying on people's frustrations."

"Tonight, while it's clear that while we are on the right side this year, we will not be on the winning side," Rubio said.

Rubio's speech

Here's a rush transcript of Rubio's speech.

Trump had a big, big victory in Florida. [Audience boos] No, no, no. Guys, we live in a republic and our voters make these decisions and we respect that very much and it was a big win. And I want to begin by thanking all of you here today. And I want you to know that I am the beneficiary of the best group of supporters, the hardest working people that I have ever been associated with. Not just here in Florida, but around the country.

Crowd: We love you Marco!

Rubio: I love you too. I want you to know that you worked as hard, I want to talk to people in Iowa and New Hampshire and Washington, DC — all over, we have a great team.

And I'm so grateful for all the help that you guys have given us. I want you to know that there's nothing more you could have done. I want you to know that we worked as hard as we ever could. America is in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami, and we should have seen this coming.

Look, people are angry and people are really frustrated. It really began in 2007, 2008, with this horrifying downturn — [to protesters] don't worry, you won't get beat up at our event.

People are very frustrated about the direction of our country. Thank you. People are frustrated. In 2007 and 2008, there was a horrible downturn in our economy.

… And they see that there's very little gratitude for all the sacrifices America makes.

People are tired of being told by these self-proclaimed elitists that they don't know what they're talking about, and they need to listen to the so-called smart people. And I know all these issues firsthand. I have lived paycheck to paycheck. I grew up paycheck to paycheck. I know what it's like to have to figure out how to find the money to fix the air conditioner that broke last night.

I know my parents struggled and I know millions of people are doing that. I know immigration in America is broken. And I know this better than anyone. My parents were immigrants. I grew up in a community of immigrants.

I have battled my whole life against the so-called elites, or people that said I needed to wait in line — that it wasn't our chance, or it wasn't our time. But when I decided to run for president, I wanted to run a campaign that was realistic about all of these challenges.

I know we have a right to enforce our immigration laws, but we also have to have a realistic approach to fix it. I know we're living through this extraordinary economic transformation that is really disrupting people's lives. Machines are replacing them. I know America can't solve all of the world's problems, but I also know that when America doesn't lead, it leaves behind a vacuum. And that vacuum leads to chaos.

And most of all, I know firsthand that ours is a special nation — because where you come from here doesn't decide where you get to go. That's how a 44-year-old son of a bartender and a maid … that's how I decided that in fact I, too, can run for president.

… From a political standpoint, the easiest thing to have done in this campaign is to jump on all those anxieties I just talked about, to make people angrier, make people more frustrated. But I chose a different route and I'm proud of that. That would have been — in a year like this — that would have been the easiest way to win, but that's not what's best for America. The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party, they're going leave us a fractured nation.

They have different political opinions, where we find ourselves at this point is not surprising, for the warning signs have been here for close to a decade. In 2010, the Tea Party wave carried me and others into office because not enough was happening and that Tea Party wave gave Republicans a majority in the House. But nothing changed.

In 2014, that same Tea Party gave Republicans a majority in the Senate and still nothing changed, and I blame some of that on the conservative movement — a movement that is supposed to be about our principles and our ideas. But I blame most of it on our political establishment.

A political establishment that for far too long has looked down as conservatives as simple-minded people. Looked down as conservatives as simply bomb-throwers; a political establishment that for far too long has taken the votes of conservatives for granted; and a political establishment that has confused cronyism for capitalism.

I have endeavored to bridge this divide within our party and within our country because I know that after eight years of Barack Obama, this nation needs a vibrant and growing conservative movement, and it needs a strong Republican Party. To change the direction now of this country … Many of the things that are going wrong in America will become permanent, and many of the things that will make us a special country are gone.

America needs a vibrant conservative movement — but one that's built on principles and ideas, not on anger, not on preying on people's frustrations. A conservative movement — a conservative movement that believes in the principles of our Constitution, that protects our rights, and limits the power of government. A conservative movement committed to the cause of free enterprise — the only economic model where everyone can climb without anyone falling.

A conservative movement that believes in a strong national defense, and a conservative movement that believes in the strong Christian values that were the formation of our nation.

But we also need a new political establishment in our party. Not one that looks down on people that live outside of the District of Columbia, not one that tells young people that they need to wait their turn and wait in line, and not one that's more interested in winning elections than it is in solving problems than standing by principles. And this is the campaign we have run, a campaign that is realistic about the challenges we face, but optimistic about the opportunities before us. A campaign that recognizes the difficulties that we face.

But also one that believes that we truly are on the verge of a new American century, and a campaign to be president that would love all of the American people. Even the ones that don't love you back. This is the right way forward for our country. But tonight while it's clear that while we are on the right side this year, we will not be on the winning side.

I take great comfort in the ancient words that teach us, that it is not human kind that directs our steps, but the Lord that directs our steps. I still remain hopeful and optimistic about America. And how can I not? My mother was one of seven girls born to a poor family, her father was disabled as a child. He struggled to provide for them his entire life.

My mother told us a few years ago, she never went to bed hungry growing up, but she knows her parents did so they wouldn't have to. She came to this country in 1956 with little education, no money, no connections. My parents struggled their first years here, they were discouraged. They even thought about going back to Cuba at one point, but they persevered.

They never became rich. I didn't inherit any money from my parents. They never became famous. You never would have heard of them if I would never have run for office, and yet I consider my parents to be very successful people, because in this country working hard as a bartender and a maid, they owned a home and they retired with dignity.

In this country, they live to see all four of their children live better off than themselves. And in this country, on this day, my mother, who's now 85 years old, was able to cast a ballot for her son to be the president of the United States of America.

And so, while it may not be God's plan that I be president in 2016, and though my campaign is suspended, we have come far. All the reason more why we must do all we can to ensure that this nation remains a special place. I ask the American people, do not give into the fear, do not give into the frustration. We can disagree about public policy, we can disagree about it vibrantly, passionately. We are a hopeful people, and we have every right to be hopeful.