Trump Puts Spotlight On Rubio at Florida Rally Amid VP Speculation
Trump Puts Spotlight On Rubio at Florida Rally Amid VP Speculation

By Eva Fu

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) joined former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Doral, Florida, just days before the 45th president is expected to announce his vice presidential pick.

Former President Trump referred to Mr. Rubio more than a dozen times throughout his speech, at times hinting that the senator could be his choice for a running mate.

“I think they probably think I’m going to be announcing that Marco is going to be vice president, because that’s a lot of press,” the former president said, referring to the large news media contingent on site.

When speaking about his proposal to no longer charge taxes on tips, he suggested that Mr. Rubio might not still be a senator when the bill comes up for a vote.

“Marco, you’re going to vote for it I hope,” he said.

“Well, you may or may not be there to vote for it, but you’ll be involved.”

Mr. Rubio, meanwhile, speaking in both English and Spanish at the rally, praised the former president’s economic, energy, and foreign policy positions.

“We elect this man as president, we will make, together, America greater than it has ever been,” Mr. Rubio told the crowd.

The former president also referred to Mr. Rubio when he mentioned communism.

“We want our freedom,” the former president said. “And we have a lot of people, Marco, from Cuba, from Venezuela, from all over, and they don’t want to hear about socialism or communism.”

Former President Trump described Mr. Rubio—who ran against him during the Republican primary election in 2016—as “a man who’s become really a friend of mine.”

“We had a vicious campaign for a while, and he was tough and he was smart, and I got to really know him well over the years, and he’s a fantastic guy,” the former president said.

Former President Donald Trump arrives for his campaign rally at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Doral, Fla., on July 9, 2024. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former President Trump on July 8 told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that he hasn’t made up his mind yet on his pick for vice president, but said that he expects to announce it before the Republican National Convention, which starts on July 15 in Milwaukee.

“Probably a little before the convention, but not much. It could even be during the convention that we’d do it,” the former president said.

He confirmed that Sens. Rubio (R-Fla.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), along with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, are all “under consideration.”

At 53, the Florida senator is one of the youngest on the Republican vice presidential shortlist. A son of Cuban immigrants, he could help the former president solidify support among Hispanic voters, while his foreign policy skills mark another draw.

Mr. Rubio, more than other candidates, has drawn a tough-on-China approach.

Mr. Rubio’s recent actions include introducing legislation requiring U.S. lobbyists to choose between representing interests at home or those of communist China, urging the UK to investigate a Chinese fashion brand before its planned public listing, requesting a U.S. blacklist of top Chinese battery companies, and asking the Biden administration to use cash incentives to encourage whistleblowers to step forward about Beijing’s state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting.

“China’s genocidal regime has subjected groups Beijing deems a threat, including Uyghurs and Falun Gong practitioners, to unimaginable human rights violations—including credible allegations of forced organ harvesting,” Mr. Rubio told The Epoch Times after the House near-unanimously passed an anti-forced organ harvesting measure in March 2023. Mr. Rubio is a co-signer of the companion Senate bill.

“The United States must hold the [Chinese Communist Party (CCP)] accountable for these savage crimes.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 2, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

As vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. Rubio has frequently placed countering communist China as a top priority, noting the Chinese regime’s ambition to topple the United States and dominate the world through theft and coercion.

On his website, he outlines six fronts—geopolitics, diplomacy, culture, technology, commerce, and trade—as key areas that the United States needs to strengthen for “winning the 21st century.”

In a previous interview with The Epoch Times, Mr. Rubio noted China’s growing leverage on the United States gained via U.S. reliance on basic pharmaceutical ingredient imports and Chinese lithium-ion batteries, as well as the telecommunication channels that can serve as espionage equipment.

“The leverage China potentially has over America and the West is extraordinary,” he said in 2022.

Mr. Rubio said the Chinese regime has “the ability to disrupt our economy right now, because we depend way too much on them for both basic raw materials and also finished production of goods, and that’s only growing.”

Two years on, national security concerns related to communist China are increasingly shared in Washington and elsewhere. The Biden administration has built on former President Trump’s policies against the CCP by encouraging investment in domestic technology hubs, increasing some import tariffs, and criticizing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Former President Donald Trump arrives for his campaign rally at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Doral, Fla., on July 9, 2024. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the new Republican Party platform released on July 8, Republican delegates call for revoking China’s preferred trade status with the World Trade Organization.

The draft proposal also pledges to “phase out imports of essential goods” and stop China from acquiring U.S. real estate or taking over industries.

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