- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2021

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, his onetime rival for the presidency, for reelection on Friday.

“It is my honor to give U.S. Senator Marco Rubio my complete and total endorsement,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “Marco has been a tireless advocate for the people of Florida, fighting to cut taxes, supporting our Second Amendment, our military and our vets, a strong national defense, and all of the forgotten men and women of America.”

Mr. Trump, who has resided in Palm Beach, Florida, since leaving the White House, also praised the senator’s efforts in helping “small businesses grow” and lower unemployment. 

Marco will never let the great people of Florida, or our country, down,” the former president said.

The endorsement comes as Mr. Rubio, who was first elected to the Senate in 2010, begins the process of seeking a third term in 2022.

Although considered a heavy favorite for renomination by Republicans, Mr. Trump’s backing allows the senator to argue the party is united behind his candidacy.

The endorsement also ends any speculation that Mr. Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, would mount a campaign for the seat. Ms. Trump, who recently moved to the Miami area, has denied her interest in running against the senator, but political gossip continued to abound.

Mr. Trump’s backing of Mr. Rubio came one day after the former president endorsed another of his 2016 rivals, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, for reelection.

“Rand will continue to stand up for our great America First policies because he believes in stopping wasteful spending. … I am proud to be working with Rand in our battle to Make America Great Again,” Mr. Trump said. “He has my complete and total endorsement for another term in the U.S. Senate.”

The backing of Mr. Paul and Mr. Rubio, two Republicans that differ significantly on ideology and style, underscores the former president’s continued ability to unite disparate factions within the GOP.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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