Washington Free Beacon reporter Lachlan Markay appeared Friday on Fox Business to discuss the state of the 2016 Republican presidential primary as Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Fla.) has begun increasing his attacks against frontrunner Donald Trump.
Speaking with host Neil Cavuto and Fox Business’ Dagen McDowell, Markay said that Rubio has recognized that the best way to attack Trump is to insult and frustrate him rather than focus on his policy positions.
“I think he has caught on to two really crucial points and one is really the only way to hit back at Trump is to insult him,” Markay told Cavuto. “That seems to get under his skin, and it seems to be the only thing that gets under his skin. Talking about his policy record or his donations to Democrats really isn’t effective in getting at him and rattling him and throwing him off message.”
The Free Beacon writer added that when candidates come off as funny and appear to be having fun on the campaign trail they are more likely to court supporters who have thus far flocked to Trump.
“He [Trump] is basically doing a standup comedy routine, and I think people really like that,” Markay said. “You don’t really get into the weeds of policy details, but I think Rubio realizes that’s not what is going to win the nomination contest and that is why Trump has been so successful. And I think he [Rubio] did really well. I thought he was funny.”
Markey also said the primary appears to be turning into a two-candidate race between Rubio and Trump with Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) falling out of the spotlight.
“I thought Cruz came off as a little stodgy [during Thursday night’s GOP debate]. He was certainly on offense, but he didn’t have that same sort of punchy, humorous, almost dramatic flair we saw from Rubio.”
He concluded by saying that “this Trump phenomenon has turned everything we thought we knew about presidential politics on its head,” and while many pundits thought at the beginning this election would be heavily focused on policy, that has not been the case.
“I think Rubio is picking up on that now. Better late than never, but he’s really the only one who is I think.”