By Trevor Robinson Wong
Throughout the 2016 Presidential election, Donald Trump had a penchant for handing out nicknames to his rivals. And among the titles of “Lying Ted,” “Crooked Hillary,” and “Crazy Bernie” there was one name that particularly stuck out: Little Marco. “Little Marco,” more formally referred to as Marco Rubio, is the junior senator from Florida.
Rubio was once seen as the front-runner for the Republican nomination before Trump announced his entrance into the race, but was beaten down by a series of insults, poor performances, and lackluster fundraising that forced him out. After his concession and exit from the race, Rubio bowed down to Trump, the man he previously labeled as a “con man,” who he believed “couldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes,” when he endorsed him for President via video at the 2016 Republican convention.
But then Rubio reversed his decision to step down from the Senate, and instead pushed forth his reelection campaign effort on a platform of “standing up to whoever the President is.” Florida voters appeared to favor his message and reelected him by a steady margin of 52%-44.3%.
So Rubio arrived back in Washington, and as his very first action in the Donald Trump administration, he put on a show of living up to his promise, ripping apart the President’s top cabinet choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, was especially irked when Tillerson refused to label Russian President and apparent Trump ally Vladimir Putin as a war criminal.
The statement appeared to strike a deep chord in the senator, so much so that some believed he truly would rid himself of his former nickname, and really stand up against Trump, by voting against his top selection. With the committee at eight Republicans and seven Democrats, Rubio crossing over to vote against Tillerson would end any chance of him becoming Secretary of State.
But then the real Marco Rubio showed up. The act was over, the little boy was back. And when the committee went to vote, it was Rubio’s vote that pushed the nomination over the top. Other usual admirable Republicans, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, followed suit. If just one of the three had stood up against Trump, they could have denied his top unqualified billionaire diplomat. Yet all three, despite pretending to stage a stand against Trump, all three who were personally insulted by the President himself, lived up to the reputations Trump provided them.
Despite his ultimate cowardice, Rubio was actually given yet another chance to redeem himself. Senate Democrats were able to turn two Republicans to vote against Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, and required just one more to overturn her confirmation. Devos, a woman who refused to say guns shouldn’t be allowed in school. But Rubio, who received campaign donations from Devos in his reelection bid, rolled over once more, solidifying himself as another of the uncompromisable Republicans in Congress.
If Donald Trump is wrong on everything else in his entire political career, he will have gotten one thing right: Marco Rubio is a coward.