Speaking to Marco Rubio during CBS News’s Super Tuesday coverage, CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose knocked Rubio for attacking Trump in the lead up to his numerous victories across the country and insulting Trump voters by referring to their candidate as “a con artist.”
Leading up to that hostile question, Rose suggested to Rubio that perhaps he should reconsider his position in the race since Ted Cruz has arguably proven himself to be “a better alternative...to beat Donald Trump” to which Rubio responded with the point that the calendar will turn more favorable to him than Cruz.
When Rubio reemphasized his hope to stop Trump from securing the nomination at the Republican National Convention, Rose stepped in to question Rubio’s now-routine hits on Trump: “But Donald Trump has had a big night, and many will stay that when you call him a con artist, you are criticizing the people who are voting for him.”
The Florida Senator brushed that argument aside and reiterated his line about Trump being “a con artist” and having “defrauded people in Trump University”:
Well, he's a con artist....This man is a world-class con artist, and he is conning people into believing he fights for the little guy. This is the guy who defrauded people in Trump University and he is doing for voters what he did to the people who signed for that school and that's why if you want to stop Donald Trump, I am the only candidate that can not only unite the party but I can grow it[.]
The transcript of the Rubio interview from CBS News: Campaign 2016 Super Tuesday on March 1 can be found below.
CBS News: Campaign 2016 Super Tuesday
March 1, 2016
10:09 p.m. Eastern
CHARLIE ROSE: Senator Marco Rubio is with us now from Miami. Senator, good evening.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Good evening, good evening, Charlie.
ROSE: So you didn't win tonight. You haven't won any states. Senator Cruz has now won two more states. Why stay in the race? Isn't he is a better alternative is your goal is to beat Donald Trump?
RUBIO: No, no, he's not. First of all, we're still in that — we have to understand where we are in this process. All of these states are apportioning out delegates. I'll give you an example, Virginia. We were down 15 points in the last polls in Virginia. Tonight, we basically fought Donald Trump to a draw there, and that's despite having some other candidates on the ballot. It took a few votes that probably would have gone our way and we would have won. We're going to end up with just as many delegates out of Virginia as Donald Trump. It’s just one example We're competitive across the board in almost every state on the map tonight we will take delegates. Now, when you get to March 15, these winner-take-all states, then you have to start winning the state, second place doesn't count for anything, but this is a delegate thing. Here is the bottom line, Donald Trump will never get to 1,237 delegates, which is what you need to be in the nominee. People are not coming and asking us to get out of the race. They’re coming and asking us to stay in the race.
ROSE: So your strategy is to stay in the race and go to the convention and deny him until you get to the convention?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, I'll do anything it takes to keep Donald Trump from being our nominee. Anyone who won't condemn the K.K.K., who won't condemn David duke. There's no place for that in the conservative movement. I have people joining our campaign from all over the country. I ask them to go online now at marcorubio.com and sign up for our efforts. Absolutely. After tonight, the map gets really friendly for us. Tonight was supposed to be the night Ted Cruz closed out his nomination and ge won his home state and a neighboring state. Meanwhile, we have been competitive across the board in every state. Minnesota is still out. We feel great about our team there and the work we've done there and we will leave tonight with a significant number of delegates and with a trajectory to win this nomination, even before a convention in the states that start on March 15. You're going to start to see that progress.
ROSE: But Donald Trump has had a big night, and many will stay that when you call him a con artist, you are criticizing the people who are voting for him.
RUBIO: Well, he's a con artist. I don't — I don't deny that there are some people that have been taken by his message, but look what happened in Virginia and virtually every state tonight. Donald Trump did not sweep. He lost in Oklahoma. We were right in the mix. We're performing very well in Arkansas as well. Virginia, as I pointed out, he was 15 points ahead of me, and then we started informing people of who he truly is. This man is a world-class con artist, and he is conning people into believing he fights for the little guy. This is the guy who defrauded people in Trump University and he is doing for voters what he did to the people who signed for that school and that's why if you want to stop Donald Trump, I am the only candidate that can not only unite the party but I can grow it and that's why I ask you to go on our web site marcorubio.com and join our team.
ROSE: Despite all that you have campaigned, are you 20 points behind in your home state of Florida with only two weeks to close that.
RUBIO: That's not true. No. Well, first of all, that's just one poll or a couple — we know that that's not true. We're going to win Florida. I'm confident of it, especially after tonight. We took — the state of Virginia in five days, we took a 15-or 20-point lead Donald Trump had and basically narrowed it to nothing. We have two weeks to work here in Florida. Donald Trump will not win Florida, and Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee.
ROSE: What is your road map to change Florida and win in Florida? What do you have to do?
RUBIO: Well, I know we know how to win elections in Florida and I think what we have to do is remind people what's happening with Donald Trump. I don't deny up to this point, there are people that have been taken by his message. He's trying to exploit people that are hurting with this argument that he's fighting for the little guy. Donald Trump has never fought for the little guy. He's a guy that says he's tough on illegal immigration but he hired illegal immigrants to work on his Trump Towers to build it. Instead of hiring American workers, he hires foreign workers to work at his hotel here in Florida. He is a con artist and that's being exposed and you're seeing the results tonight in multiple states where he was up by huge margins in every poll and suddenly, he’s pulling off small victories and in the case of Virginia, is basically tied for the number of delegates
ROSE: But Senator he's winning. He's winning delegates and winning states. Winning is what matters here.
RUBIO: Charlie, you have to get to 1,237 delegates. Donald Trump is not on track to do, that especially after tonight when you get into the winner-take-all states and the race continues to narrow down he's not going to have 1,237 delegates.
ROSE: If Donald Trump wins the nomination, will it destroy the Republican Party?
RUBIO: Absolutely. If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, it will split the Republican Party and it will basically, I think, split the conservative movement. We cannot have someone in charge of the conservative movement, for example, that has repeatedly refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan. I mean, there is no room in our party for someone who will not condemn the Ku Klux Klan or racists like David Duke. How can that be the leader of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. It is not going to happen and Charlie, if I have to campaign in 50 states and every territory, I will do that to ensure he’s not the nominee and I am. One more point, no one — no one — no one is going to come to us and say get out so we can rally around Donald Trump. People are begging us to stay in and fight this man and we will and I'm asking people to join our effort at marcorubio.com.
ROSE: Marco Rubio, thank you for joining us this evening.
RUBIO: Thank you.