Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during campaign event, Feb. 23, 2016 in Kentwood, Mich.
Photo by Paul Sancya/AP

Why isn’t Rubio targeting Trump? Candidate defends choice after Nevada


Despite Donald Trump sweeping to victory in Tuesday’s Nevada caucuses, Sen. Marco Rubio says he isn’t planning on more forcefully attacking the GOP front-runner in the race for the party’s presidential nomination.

“I don’t have any voters begging me to attack anyone,” Rubio said on TODAY Wednesday. “I’m not in this race to attack any Republican…I didn’t run for office to tear up other Republicans.”

Trump won Tuesday night’s Nevada caucuses with 46 percent of the vote, with Rubio finishing second ahead of Ted Cruz with 24 percent of the vote.

'Winning, winning, winning': Trump's big night in Nevada
Donald Trump won the Nevada Republican caucuses by a near-landslide early Wednesday, his third straight victory.

“I think you need to take…the lessons of every other campaign before and throw them out the window,” Rubio said. “This is a very unusual year and a very unusual process. I respect Nevada very much, but last night, that process was just different from the rest of the country,” Rubio explained.

“Here’s the bottom-line fact: The vast and overwhelming majority of the Republicans do not want Donald Trump to be our nominee,” Rubio said.

While Rubio has not targeted Trump, he has fired back at Cruz at times during the campaign.

“I’m responding to Ted Cruz, that’s different,” Rubio said. “If I’m attacked, I’m going to respond and set the record straight. In the case of Ted Cruz, he has now repeatedly made things up about me, and we’ve had to clear the air on those things and point to the fact that he’s making things up.”

Rubio held a rally in Nevada on Tuesday before flying to make stops in Minnesota and Michigan ahead of the crucial Super Tuesday voting on March 1.

With 595 delegates in play across 11 states, the Super Tuesday contests appear to be a crucial turning point in whittling down the field of candidates for the Republican nomination. Rubio declined to make any predictions when asked which state he might win first on Super Tuesday.

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Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Nevada

Why isn't Rubio targeting Trump? Candidate defends choice after Nevada