Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pauses while speaking at a rally, Feb. 21, 2016, in North Las Vegas, Nev.
Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP

Marco Rubio heightens debate attack on Donald Trump: ‘This guy is a con artist’

On a roll following his best debate performance yet, Marco Rubio continued his fiery attack against Republican front-runner Donald Trump, insisting Friday he was the only candidate who can unite the divided party.

“We are not going to turn over the conservative movement to a con artist who is telling people one thing but has spent 40 years sticking it to working Americans and now claims to be their champion,” Rubio told TODAY.

During the Republican debate Thursday, the Florida senator pummeled Trump on immigration, health care, foreign policy, and a variety of other topics. It was an about-face for Rubio, who had previously avoided provoking Trump in recent weeks.

Along with Ted Cruz, the three leading presidential candidates constantly talked over each other in a debate filled with fiery accusations and name-calling. Both Rubio and Cruz hoped to slow down the momentum Trump gained from his three consecutive primary and caucus contests as the presidential hopefuls approach the 11 state elections taking place on Super Tuesday.

Rubio questioned Trump on his business record both during the debate and again, the next morning on TODAY, where he pointed out Trump’s bankruptcy filing and numerous ventures that have failed.

“The reason Donald won’t release his taxes is because he hasn’t made as nearly as much money as he claims he does,” he said. “He’s not as rich as he claims to be. Everybody in finance knows that and his taxes would expose that.”

Trump said during the debate that he couldn’t release his taxes because they’re currently being audited.

Rubio also expressed confidence that he will win his home state of Florida, despite some polls that show him falling far behind.

“We’re not behind by double digits in Florida,” he insisted. “I know my state. We’re going to win Florida and we’re going to do well on Super Tuesday.”

This article first appeared on TODAY.com.

Donald Trump and Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio heightens debate attack on Donald Trump: 'This guy is a con artist'