Marco Rubio spent the first roughly 10 minutes of his rally in Dallas, Texas, relentlessly attacking Donald Trump
Rubio and Trump squared off Thursday in a heated presidential debate hosted by CNN
Riding high off a strong debate performance, Marco Rubio went after Donald Trump on Friday with new vigor – even mocking the real estate mogul for worrying that his pants were “wet” Thursday night at the CNN GOP debate.
The Florida senator spent the first roughly 10 minutes of his rally in Dallas, Texas, on Friday morning relentlessly attacking Trump, including reading off misspelled tweets and turning Trump’s attacks back on the reality TV star.
“He called me Mr. Meltdown,” Rubio said, smiling and saying that Thursday night during the commercial breaks, “he went backstage, he was having a meltdown.”
He said Trump had “one of those little sweat mustaches,” borrowing Trump’s “sweating” line of attack against Rubio, and said he wanted a full-length mirror.
“Maybe to make sure his pants weren’t wet,” Rubio said.
Trump responded in a press conference Friday by largely repeating past attacks he’s made against Rubio, calling him a “choker,” “lightweight,” “clown” and saying he’s the one who sweats.
“Can you imagine,” Trump said of Rubio meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, “and he walks in and he’s drenched. I have never seen a human being sweat like this man sweats. … It looked like he had just jumped into a swimming pool with his clothes on.”
Later, during his rally, Trump doubled down, waving around a water bottle and splashing water while declaring: “It’s Rubio!”
Trump recalled Rubio’s poor New Hampshire debate performance, in which he repeated the same line multiple times.
“I thought he was going to die,” Trump said. “Once a choker, always a choker.”
Later in his speech, he added: “I looked at the puddle on the ground and said, ‘What is that?’”
He also said Rubio was lying about his financial history: “I used to call Ted Cruz a liar, but now I’ll actually call Marco Rubio (one),” Trump said.
And at an evening rally in Oklahoma City, Trump said Rubio was “not a presidential guy.”
Rubio turns focus to Trump
Rubio’s speech was a stark departure from Rubio’s style throughout the campaign thus far. Until a few days ago, Rubio rarely even mentioned Trump in his stump speeches, preferring to focus on his optimistic campaign message.
But since Nevada, Rubio has been sprinkling attacks against Trump into his speeches – and Thursday night’s debate signaled a turning point in style. Rubio deployed a debate strategy of persistently going after the front-runner, interjecting joke after joke as Trump tried to fight back.
Friday’s speech was a step farther than that – as Rubio doubled down on the line of criticism he began Thursday night, including Trump’s hiring of foreign workers at his business ventures.