Sen. Marco Rubio seemed to open the door to running for re-election Monday, when asked whether the Orlando nightclub shootings had changed his decision not to seek another term.
Asked by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt if the shootings had led him to reconsider his decision not to run for re-election, Rubio pushed the door open an inch after holding it tightly shut for weeks.
“I haven’t even given it thought in that perspective, other than to say I’ve been deeply impacted by it and I think when it visits your home states, when it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause, to think a little bit about your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country,” Rubio told Hewitt. Rubio’s Senate office posted the clip to his YouTube account shortly afterward Monday morning.
“You know, honestly, I haven’t thought about it from a political perspective but it most certainly has impacted my thinking in general about a lot of things,” Rubio added.
After Hewitt pressed him a second time, Rubio said he didn’t want to tie any political decision to the shooting, but that “my family and I will be praying about all this. We’ll see what I need to do next with my life in regards to how I can best serve.”
Republican leaders have been lobbying Rubio for more than a month to run again for his Senate seat in November, amid the distinct threat they lose a majority in the November elections.
But Rubio has been steadfast before Monday that he was opposed to seeking re-election. He told CNN’s Manu Raju last week, when asked if he had changed his mind, “nothing has changed.”
Rubio has until June 24 to file for re-election.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid blasted Rubio Monday in a speech before the Senate, after hearing about Rubio’s comments.
“How can the junior senator from Florida – who all of a sudden is again interested in running for re-election – how can he speak of running for office again when he voted to let potential terrorists buy assault weapons and explosives?” Reid said, referencing Rubio’s votes against reinstating an assault weapons ban.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.