Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday continued to go after 2016 GOP rival Marco Rubio, calling the Florida senator a “clown” who’s weak on immigration.
“You have this clown, Marco Rubio. I’ve been so nice to him,” Mr. Trump said to a crowd at the 2015 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. “I’ve been so nice. I’ve been so nice. And then — no — but he’s in favor of immigration, and he has been.”
Mr. Trump’s calling out Mr. Rubio elicited boos from the crowd of social conservatives, and the billionaire businessman quickly pivoted to another subject, highlighting Mr. Rubio’s role as part of the “Gang of Eight” senators that crafted a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013.
“You remember the gang of eight. It was terrible,” Mr. Trump said. “And then he went down in the polls, and you have to stay — you know what, if you believe in something, you have to be true to yourself. You have to be. You have to be.”
“You talk about weak on immigration. Nobody weaker,” he said. “And all of a sudden, he goes down in the polls, and all of a sudden, he starts changing his tone. But you never really change your tone — you remember that.”
He also criticized Mr. Rubio for his poor attendance record in the U.S. Senate.
Mr. Rubio, who spoke earlier Friday at the event, has been engaged in a war of words with Mr. Trump over the past several days. Mr. Trump has called the 44-year-old Mr. Rubio a “kid” who shouldn’t be running for president, while Mr. Rubio has called Mr. Trump “touchy” and “insecure.”
Asked about the boos after his speech, Mr. Trump said they “were cheers,” NBC News reported.