Doing some last-minute stumping in Melbourne, Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) spotted a Bernie Sanders supporter and told him not to worry about getting “beat up at my rally,” a clear swipe at the violence that has marked recent Donald Trump events.
“If we return to those [conservative] principles and back them up with real ideas, there is no reason why the 21st century can’t be the greatest era in our history. That is what we have the chance to do together, in this generation, at this time in our history,” Rubio said. “But we have to do it now. We have to do it now in 2016. The price of failure is too high. If we lose this election, that means Hillary Clinton will be president, and that will be a disaster for America.”
The crowd booed heartily.
“Or let me not leave him out. I don’t want him to feel lonely. Or Bernie Sanders to be president. Oh look, a Bernie Sanders sign. Don’t worry. You’re not going to get beat up at my rally!” Rubio said, smiling.
The crowd hollered its approval as Rubio went back into his prepared remarks.
After protesters, many of them supporting Sanders, effectively shut down one of Trump’s events Friday night in Chicago and images of fighting and screaming were broadcast live, Trump’s rhetoric that’s condoned and even encouraged violence on the campaign trail has come under fresh scrutiny. Just last week, a Trump supporter was arrested for assaulting a black protester in North Carolina, and numerous skirmishes and fights have broken out at other events.
Rubio spoke at length on Saturday after seeing the troubling images of unrest in Chicago, lighting into Trump for stoking anger in order to win votes.