Marco Rubio: 'This is not a reality show'

Story highlights

  • "This is not a reality show. It's not about entertainment, people. It's about informing people," Rubio said
  • "It doesn't happen to be true. The factoid is that the majority of Muslims do not hate America," he said

Washington (CNN)Florida Sen. Marco Rubio defended Friday his decision not to aggressively attack Republican front-runner Donald Trump at Thursday's CNN GOP debate, saying the presidential race "is not a reality show."

"We have a debate like we did two weeks ago where it gets pretty heated and people say, 'We don't like it. It's too personal. They're not talking a bout policy,'" he told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day." "So then we have a debate about policy and people are asking, 'Why didn't you guys get personal?'"
    "Here's the bottom line guys. This is not entertainment," he added. "This is not a reality show. It's not about entertainment, people. It's about informing people."
    Rubio believes he was able to effectively attack Trump's policies at the debate without making personal jabs.
    "When it comes to foreign policy in particular, I think last night you did see some sharp distinctions and I thought I was able to make them without calling anybody a name or going in that direction," he said.
    The Florida Republican did stand by criticizing Trump's recent remarks about Muslims. The real estate mogul's defense of his statement that "Islam hates us" is a generalization that could harm American foreign policy, Rubio said.
    "It doesn't happen to be true. The factoid is that the majority of Muslims do not hate America," he said. "We don't know that. I don't know how he bases that on."
    Rubio said many Muslim leaders in the Middle East want to help the U.S. fight "radical Islam."
    "We shouldn't be politically correct about that -- to say there is a problem with radical Islam, radical Islamic jihadists. That is a real threat to Islam and a real threat to America. But we're going to need to work with Muslims to defeat radicalization," he said.