By any fair measure, what transpired on I-35 in Texas on Friday afternoon was dangerous. As we discussed earlier, a Biden-Harris campaign bus heading from San Antonio to Austin found itself surrounded by a caravan of Donald Trump supporters, and according to a New York Times report, the presidential backers "appeared to be attempting to slow [the bus] down and force it to the side of the road."
The same article added, "In one instance, the vehicles pulled in front of the bus and tried to stop in the middle of the highway." It's why the Texas Department of Public Safety has opened an investigation into the incident, and the FBI is also examining what transpired.
Trump, true to form, celebrated the incident and publicly denounced the FBI probe. But I was curious whether others would do the same.
I didn't have to wait very long for an answer. The Daily Beast reported this morning on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) seemingly joining the president in "endorsing vehicular intimidation of political rivals just days before the presidential election."
At a Sunday night rally for Trump's re-election campaign at Miami-Opa-Locka Executive Airport, Rubio brought up the video that shows a blockade of pro-Trump demonstrators ambushing a Biden-Harris campaign bus and allegedly attempting to force it off the road. "I saw yesterday a video of these people in Texas," Rubio said to a large, mostly mask-less crowd. "Did you see it? All the cars on the road, we love what they did."
The Florida Republican added that he thanks "all the great patriots."
It's easy to forget that Rubio, way back in 2015 and 2016, used to issue stern public warnings about Trump being a menace. When the GOP senator wasn't making vulgar comments about Trump's genitals, Rubio told voters the future president was a "lunatic," a "con man," and "dangerous" and "erratic" candidate who could not be trusted with the nation's nuclear codes.
Four years later, Rubio votes the way Trump wants him to more than 90% of the time, and the Floridian didn't seem to hesitate to celebrate a caravan of Trump followers who stand accused of harassing and trying to intimate a Democratic bus on a highway.
It's worth filing this away for future reference. It's no secret that Rubio is an ambitious, lifelong politician who has his eyes on the White House. It's also difficult to say with confidence how Trump will be perceived in the public's eyes the next time the Florida senator launches a bid for national office.
But if Rubio ever tries to argue that there was some distance between his style of politics and Trump's, and he wasn't altogether comfortable with Trump's most authoritarian excesses, let's not forget when the senator stood before Trump supporters and applauded a Trump caravan accused of vehicular intimidation serious enough to warrant FBI scrutiny.